Porton Down could not verify source of Salisbury nerve agent

04 April, 2018, 01:18 | Author: Chad Mckenzie
  • Russian Ambassador to the UK Alexander Yakovenko

The global chemical weapons control body will hold an emergency meeting to discuss the poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal, at Russia's request.

Mr Filatov published lists of questions he said had to be answered separately by the British government, by France and by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

Britain has said it is "highly likely" that Moscow was responsible for an attempt to poison former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the quiet English city of Salisbury on Mar 4.

The 'secret bank account' was disclosed by Sergei's niece Viktoria Skripal, 45, who aims this week to travel to meet Yulia in hospital in Salisbury.

Mr Buzhinskiy's comments echo Sergey Lavrov's declaration that East-West tensions are worse now than during the Cold War and accused Britain and the USA of spreading "lies and disinformation".

Without providing any proof, London expelled 23 Russian diplomats and suspended all planned high-level bilateral contacts. The Trump administration expelled 60 Russians from the USA alone.

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"They have to be answered so far the only thing which is clear to us, that the British government chose to put the blame for the Salisbury incident on Russian Federation without presenting any evidence to that effect", he said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov denounced the British accusations on Monday as a "mad and terrible provocation".

"If there were any gripes against the man, he wouldn't have been swapped", Lavrov said.

"It could also be advantageous to the British government, who clearly find themselves in a hard situation having failed to fulfil their promises to voters over Brexit".

On Tuesday, a senior Russian diplomat offered another explanation.

Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko in comments relayed by Russian news agencies on Tuesday called Skripal's poisoning a "provocation arranged by Britain" in order to justify high military spending because "they need a major enemy".

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On Saturday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, wrote on Facebook that more than 50 diplomats and staff members of the United Kingdom diplomatic mission in Russia would have to return to the United Kingdom in order to maintain the parity in the number of diplomatic personnel of the two countries.

He reiterated that the substance could not have come from Porton Down.

The OPCW said Russian Federation had asked for the meeting but London has already accused Moscow of requesting the OPCW talks as a "diversionary tactic".

"The speed at which the anti-Russian campaign was launched causes bewilderment", Putin said from Turkey, where he met with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

"As the Prime Minister has set out in a number of statements ... this includes our knowledge that within the last decade, Russia has investigated ways of delivering nerve agents probably for assassination - and as part of this programme has produced and stockpiled small quantities of Novichoks; Russia's record of conducting state-sponsored assassinations; and our assessment that Russia views former intelligence officers as targets", the spokesperson said in a statement. "Now, Britain, the U.S. and a few countries blindly following them have dropped all decorum and engaged in blatant lies and disinformation".

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