22 August 2018
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London: 07:56

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Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning the statements of British medics on the treatment of Sergei and Yulia Skripal

Question: How could you comment on the statements of the Salisbury District Hospital staff on BBC “Newsnight” concerning the clinical care provided for Sergei and Yulia Skripal?

Answer: We have carefully studied the statements of the British medical staff who treated Sergei and Yulia Skripal. Unfortunately, they have still not provided any answers to our questions.

We have to note yet again that the Embassy is learning the details of the treatment of the two Russian citizens from media reports and not from British authorities, despite having filed many official requests; not to mention that this is happening almost three months since the incident. Moreover, the question about the use of antidote in the treatment previously raised with British authorities remains unanswered – the medics carefully walked around it saying only that they had used “combinations of drugs” and received advice from the Porton Down secret chemical weapons laboratory.

The real role of Porton Down “international experts” is unclear. One would be interested to know at what stage they became engaged in the clinical care and what specific “best therapies and new approaches to well-known treatments” they suggested. At the same time, we were astonished to hear the medical staff saying that they had not had high hopes of ever having their two patients recover from the nerve agent poisoning and had been “surprised” by the speed of their recovery. This does not fall in line with the statements that Sergei and Yulia Skripal have been saved thanks to the timely “very good generic basic critical care” in the first hours and days after the poisoning.

Moreover, the timeline of the events described by the doctors contradicts the previous media reports that specialists with chemical weapons training “happened to be” on duty at the hospital when Sergei and Yulia Skripal were admitted. There are yet more inconsistencies: although the sites visited by Sergei and Yulia Skripal on 4 March are undergoing a thorough chemical clean-up, there has been no clear explanation as to why decontamination of the hospital never took place.

It is also unclear why the medical staff assumed the role of legal representatives of Sergei and Yulia Skripals and insisted that international inspectors obtain a court order before they would be allowed to take blood samples from them, while the British side was well aware that they had relatives in Russia. Sergei Skripal’s niece Viktoria, who is ready to come and help her relatives, has been denied a British visa twice.

We are falling under the impression that the statements of the medical staff have been prompted to support the official position that the nerve agent had been used in Salisbury. Moreover, British authorities are avoiding direct contact with the Embassy and prefer to make the details of the “Skripal case” known piece by piece through the media. We will continue to pressure the British side to give answers to all the questions raised by us and to meet its obligations under international law, including those stipulated in the Consular conventions.


21.08.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning the statement by FCO Minister of State on the “Ukrainian political prisoners”

Question: Foreign Office Minister of State Alan Duncan has urged Russia to immediately release up to 70 “Ukrainian political prisoners”, including Oleg Sentsov and Volodymyr Balukh. How would you comment on this? Answer: The Embassy has taken note of the statement, which fails to reflect the real state of affairs. It should be reminded once again that Oleg Sentsov has been sentenced to 20 years in prison on grave charges of creating a terrorist group and preparing two terrorist acts. Volodymyr Balukh has been convicted to three and a half years in prison for illegal possession of arms. These are all criminal offences punishable not only in Russia but under the law of a vast majority of countries, including the United Kingdom.

21.08.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning the anti-Russian remarks by the Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt

Queston: How would you comment on the anti-Russian remarks made by the UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt during his US visit? Answer: Those statements follow the general line of the current Conservative government towards Russia. It is highly symbolic that Foreign Secretary Hunt has chosen the US Institute of Peace as a venue for his attacks. There is not much about peace. The UK authorities may prefer to continue their policy of scaremongering, using the so-called “Russian threat” in order to distract the British public from those urgent domestic and international problems the UK currently faces. But this “enemy search” is a flawed and shortsighted policy.

21.08.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question on UK approach to the reconstruction of Syria and repatriation of the refugees

Question: How would you comment on the UK approaches to the reconstruction of Syria and repatriation of the refugees? Answer: Unfortunately, the UK continues to follow the overall pattern of Western policy of obstruction that Russian Foreign Affairs Minister Sergey Lavrov was talking about yesterday at the press-conference following the meeting with his Lebanese colleague Gebran Bassil. He said that the “US was making a contribution to Syria’s restoration; however, it was limited to the areas occupied by the opposition groups that were not always constructive”. Unfortunately, these words are fully applicable to the UK participation in that process. We have to acknowledge that London still prefers to provide assistance only to the Syrian regions under control of the militant opposition and jihadists groups.

20.08.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning the investigation of the death of Nikolay Glushkov

Question: Does the Embassy have any new information regarding circumstances of the death of the Russian citizen Nikolay Glushkov in London on 12 March? Answer: Unfortunately, we have to state once again that the British side continues to evade any sort of cooperation with Russia with regard to the investigation of Mr Glushkov’s death. The British authorities continue to ignore our requests. After the Foreign and Commonwealth Office recommended to address all correspondence on this case not to the police but to the FCO, the Embassy has sent a respective Note Verbale.

18.08.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s comment on anti-Russian statement by Minister of State Mark Field

We have taken note of the speech by Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Mark Field in the Philippines during his tour of Southeast Asia. The Minister has irresponsibly stated, inter alia, that “in recent years many countries have fallen victim to Russian state aggression”. These accusations are absolutely misleading. As we have emphasized over and over again at various levels, Russia does not threaten anyone. The UK, on the other hand, in recent years together with the US have initiated aggression in Iraq, destroyed Libya and committed an act of aggression against Syria this April by launching a massive missile attack on its territory.

17.08.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question on cooperation between the UK and the OPCW with regard to the investigation of Salisbury and Amesbury incidents

Question: How would you comment on the recent information regarding the OPCW experts’ visit to the UK upon the British authorities request for “technical assistance” in the framework of the investigation of the Amesbury incident? Answer: First of all, we would like to point out that the Embassy has learned about the OPCW experts’ visit to the UK from the media publications. Unfortunately, the British side continiously refuses to launch a transparent and independent international investigation.

17.08.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question on the UK plans to provide assistance for Idlib province in Syria

Question: How would you comment on the statement by the UK government on its intention to provide assistance for Idlib province in Syria? Answer: We monitor closely the modalities of the UK assistance in Syria, what are its objectives and who are its recipients. The official British statement issued today indicates that the assistance will be provided to Idlib province. Moreover, according to the statement, around 3 million civilians “have sought shelter” in this area, while “many have already been displaced multiple times”.

16.08.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning possible reputational costs to the UK and the US following the Salisbury incident

Question: How would you comment on the claims that the refusal of the British authorities to cooperate with Russia on the investigation of the Salisbury incident might damage the UK international reputation? Answer: The Embassy is still concerned about the lack of information regarding condition and whereabouts of Sergei and Yulia Skripal. Unfortunately, the British authorities continue to refuse us consular access to them. The UK government ignores numerous relevant requests for legal assistance sent by the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation to the Home Office. This is a clear breach of UK international obligations.

16.08.2018 - Agricultural Attaché Vladimir Derbenskiy visits School of Veterinary Sciences University of Bristol

On 15 August 2018 the Agricultural Attaché of the Russian Embassy Vladimir Derbenskiy visited the School of Veterinary Sciences University of Bristol.

15.08.2018 - Embassy Press Officer’s comment on the UK media speculations around the Arctic

We have taken note of a number of publications in the British media (including today's issue of the Daily Telegraph), presenting the conclusions of the House of Commons Defence Sub-Committee report "On thin ice: UK defence in the Arctic" as evidence of “a serious threat to Britain from Russia on the Arctic flank”. On this false basis the authors of the pieces call for enhancing the UK military potential in the region as well as an overall increase in the government defence spending.

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