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British MPs have blind trust in what their secret services say — ambassador

May 15, 2018, 23:16 UTC+3 LONDON

Russia's UK ambassador described his meeting with UK MPs as "rather tense"

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The Russian Ambassador in London, Alexander Yakovenko

The Russian Ambassador in London, Alexander Yakovenko


LONDON, May 15. /TASS/. British MPs have blind trust in what the UK secret services say regarding the alleged poisoning of the former Russian intelligence officer and British spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia and they distrust Russia’s stance, the Russian Ambassador in London, Alexander Yakovenko, said on Tuesday.

He spoke to reporters after a meeting with members of an inter-party group of MPs for relations with Russia.

"There’s an impression they simply put blind trust in the information spread by their intelligence services and in the claims of the UK counterintelligence chief Andrew Parker," Yakovenko said, answering a question from TASS. "Sadly enough, they rely on this information."

"They distrust our arguments but there are certain things that fall into the realm of international law and these things make up the strong aspect of our argumentation," he said. "Still they rely on their own notions and the information dished out to them at the official level."

"British MPs mostly consume the information from newspapers and from media leaks and think along the lines of cliches, and that’s why the discussion with them was rather tense," Yakovenko said.

He added to it, though, that the meeting was generally important. "One thing that’s important is they heeded me and understood our arguments as regards violations of international law by the British side, which doesn’t give us an opportunity to meet with the Skripals. They also understand we don’t have any information on other cases."

Yakovenko said the discussion embraced some other issues, too.

"We did an overview of a broad range of issues from Syria to Iran to Afghanistan to some other things," he said, adding that the sides also touched upon the problem of transponders on aircraft.

"Russia proposed NATO to switch transponders at the aircraft on but it was NATO countries that rejected our proposals," the ambassador indicated.

"Although the problems are many, the Skripals issue was dominant because we don’t see any cooperation from the British side yet and the British continue alleging Russia is accountable but they don’t produce any arguments," Yakovenko said.

"The meeting was useful and we agreed to hold one more meeting shortly," he said.

On March 4, the 66-year-old former colonel of the Russian military intelligence service GRU, Sergei Skripal, who had served four years in a Russian prison for espionage, and his 33-year-old daughter Yulia were found sitting unconscious near a shopping mall in Salisbury. The British side claimed they had been exposed to a nerve agent.

Later on, London came up with the claims that the substance, which supposedly was one of the class loosely codenamed Novichok [the New Arrival], had been developed in Russia. On the basis of these claims, it accused Moscow of complicity in the incident.

The Russian side strongly denied any such accusations.

The Skripals are currently out of the comatose condition. Reports from the Salisbury hospital say Sergei remains there, while Yulia has been discharged and is recuperating, with whereabouts unspecified.

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