Russian Foreign Ministry statement

Submitted on Thu, 03/29/2018 - 09:14

The British authorities systematically demonstrate their inability to ensure safety of Russian citizens on British territory. Among flagrant examples are poisoning of former FSB agent Alexander Litvinenko, death of businessmen Badri Patarkatsishvili and Alexander Perepelichny in unclarified circumstances, mysterious “suicide” of Boris Berezovsky and strangling of his business partner Nikolai Glushkov, and lastly, attempt on the lives and health of Sergey and Yulia Skripal.

In the latter case, London has disregarded all the norms of international law, ethics and even common sense. London has accused Russia of poisoning its own citizens without providing any evidence or detailed picture of the events. It has planted a name of a chemical substance that had never been used in Russia and launched a large-scale political and media campaign. It has inspired a series of expulsions of Russian diplomats from a number of countries and missions to international organisations, and announced a package of other sanctions. Our legitimate demands to provide samples of the substance used have been ignored.

On 16 March 2018 the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation initiated criminal proceedings regarding the attempted deliberate murder of Russian citizen Yulia Skripal and submitted a relevant request to the British side. We expect detailed cooperation from London within the framework of the investigation launched by the Russian law enforcement authorities.

The actions of the British authorities raise many questions. The British public is kept in the dark regarding key elements of this incident, which has been described as extremely dangerous, and the total number of people affected is unknown. Information is kept under lid on the activities of the secret laboratory in Porton Down, located near Salisbury and well known for its research on creating chemical weapons. No information has been made public regarding the annual “Toxic Dagger” exercise conducted shortly before the Skripals’ poisoning  by the Porton Down facility together with UK military to practice combating chemical and biological contamination.

London has initiated a worldwide campaign to spread the absolute presumption of Russia’s guilt. We see a deliberate and purposeful escalation of confrontation and demonstration of military force at Russia’s border. It is an obvious effort to undermine the political and diplomatic interaction that could lead to an objective and comprehensive investigation of the Salisbury incident.

The analysis of all these circumstances shows that the UK authorities are not interested in identifying the real causes and the real perpetrators of the crime in Salisbury, which makes us think that the UK intelligence services may be involved. Unless we receive convincing proof of the opposite, we will consider that we are dealing with an attempt on the lives of Russian citizens following a large-scale political provocation. We emphasise that the burden of proof in this story rests solely on the British side.