7th December 2003
Interesting. I suppose it is possible that Russia lost some of these weapons after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, but do these things really have such a long shelf-life?
If it was Russia then this is a very strong message to NATO following shortly after Putin's aggressive speech in which he revealed new nuclear weapons designed to defeat US counter-measures.
10th November 2006
From a bit of brief research, as far as I can tell it depends on the composition. Sarin and VX have very short shelf life, so I would assume something like Novichok - which is supposed to be even more dangerous - has an even shorter shelf life. Though some of these compounds are kept in binary states, where you're required to mix them together to actually produce the dangerous compound.
Regardless, the fact it's Novichok raises a great many questions. If it's from the Soviet Union, where was it stored and why did it get stolen? If it's new, who produced it?