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Moscow demands explanation from UK Foreign Office about ex-colonel’s hospitalization

March 06, 2018, 15:45 UTC+3

The embassy stressed that the incident involving Skripal and his female companion raises serious concerns

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Sergei Skripal

Sergei Skripal

© Moscow District Military Court/TASS

LONDON, March 6. /TASS/. The Russian Embassy has asked the UK Foreign Office to provide explanations about the poisoning of former Russian military intelligence (GRU) Colonel Sergey Skripal and his female companion in Salisbury, the embassy’s spokesman told TASS.

"The British authorities and law enforcement agencies must intervene immediately and inform the embassy and the British public about the real state of affairs in order to put an end to the demonization of Russia. In light of that, the embassy asked for relevant explanations from the UK Foreign Office," the spokesman stated.

The embassy stressed that the incident involving Skripal and his female companion raises serious concerns. "To date, the embassy has no official information about the incident from either the police or other British authorities. The UK Foreign Office has not made any statements on the matter as well. However, the situation in the media space is rapidly morphing into a new round of the anti-Russia crusade, which is underway in Britain. Readers are presented with various theories, which boil down to ways of demonizing Russia," the representative said.

"Although the British law enforcement agencies did not make any substantive statements about the circumstances surrounding the incident, one could get an impression from media reports that the issue at hand is apparently a well-planned action by Russia’s intelligence services, which is totally untrue," he added.

The Salisbury incident

On March 5, UK media reported an incident involving former Russian military intelligence (GRU) Colonel Sergei Skripal, 66, and a female companion identified by some media outlets as his 33-year-old daughter, who had reportedly been poisoned by an unknown substance. According to the local police, they were found unconscious on a shopping mall bench in Salisbury on Sunday.

In 2004, Russia’s Federal Security Service (the FSB) arrested Skripal and later on, he was sentenced to 13 years in prison for high treason. Six years later, the former colonel was handed over to the US as part of a swap deal involving espionage suspects.

Earlier on Tuesday, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the Kremlin had no information on what the incident could be related to. According to the spokesman, Russia has received no requests for assistance in investigating that incident. However, Moscow is always open to cooperation.

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