25 October 2020
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London: 00:55

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966 days have passed since the Salisbury incident - no credible information or response from the British authorities                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     958 days have passed since the death of Nikolay Glushkov on British soil - no credible information or response from the British authorities

PRESS RELEASES AND NEWS

09.04.2018

Ambassador Yakovenko’s response to a question of the International Affairs magazine

Question: The Embassy’s Press officer informs that you have requested a meeting with Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. What are you planning to discuss?

Answer: More than a month has passed since the poisoning of the Skripals in Salisbury. In the absence of any evidence presented publicly, Prime Minister Theresa May blamed Russia on the basis of some classified intelligence.

For over a month, we have had no information about Scotland Yard’s ongoing investigation. It is unprecedented given the nature of the accusations against Russia. As we understand, this classified information must be transformed into public evidence and we will, of course, study and check it.

In this context, the United Kingdom faces a number of challenges. Unfounded accusations against Russia and the cessation of high-level political contacts have seriously complicated Russian-British relationship. Hard evidence pending, Britain’s image has been severely damaged in the eyes of the Russian people.

The second issue would be the international image of the UK. London has got its Western allies into trouble. Out of solidarity and US strong backing, Britain mobilized them to make hostile steps towards Russia providing no proof whatsoever. Time goes by and now these governments have to explain themselves to the public. First questions have already been asked.

The third challenge is at international organizations. The matter now will be addressed on a regular basis by the UN Security Council at the political level and by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) at the technical level. This means that Britain’s unfounded claims have grown from a bilateral issue into a huge international problem. Moreover, London has taken it to the level of the relationship between the West and the East. Let me clarify. Even though as few as 15 votes of Western states have been enough to block Russia-China-Iran’s draft decision of the OPCW Executive Council that sought an active international cooperation on the Salisbury incident, 23 states of the Executive Council out of 41 refused to associate themselves with the West’s unconstructive position. These comprise all the Latin American and African members and all but two Asian Executive Council Member States.

To sum up both on the bilateral and multilateral levels, the Conservative Government bluntly refuses to cooperate, while conducting an investigation in a way that is not transparent either for the international community or its own public.

Purely out of professional interest I wonder how long the British political system can sustain such pressure.

As for Russia, we have to be informed about the investigation. Let us remember that Sergei and Yulia Skripal are Russian citizens and their health and well-being matter to us. I would also note that Russia has initiated a criminal investigation into the attempted murder.

I should remind that Russia has officially stated that it has nothing to do with the poisoning of the Skripals and, in view of the secrecy, the burden of proof lies with the British authorities. For this reason, I would like to hear Foreign Secretary’s assessment of the resulting situation in our bilateral relations.

What the British authorities are going to do when, according to Scotland Yard, the investigation might take months? It will not be possible to classify all the case files, as it was with the death of Alexander Litvinenko.

And, on the ground of sheer human sympathy, I wish to know why the United Kingdom refused an entry visa to Viktoria Skripal, who is worried about her cousin and uncle and would like to come to see them? I fail to understand such a refusal, especially since, according to the British authorities, they both have got better.

The biggest challenge for the UK now for the weeks and months to come is transparency of the investigation. For this reason, we have to have a meeting. My conversations with Foreign Secretary Johnson, and there have been many, indicate that he is open to logical arguments and discussion, ready to listen to differing opinions and cares about his country’s reputation.

I think now is just the right time that we discuss all the matters of mutual concern.




LATEST EVENTS

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02.10.2020 - Comment by the Information and Press Department on statements by Permanent Representative of the United States to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva Robert Wood on Russia’s initiatives to prevent an arms race in space

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26.09.2020 - Statement by H.E. Mr. Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation, on a comprehensive program of measures for restoring the Russia – US cooperation in the filed of international information security

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