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Diplomat urges UK to investigate ex-officer's case first before pinning blame on Russia

March 06, 21:27 UTC+3

The diplomat also hopes that London will reveal the results of Skripal case investigation to the public

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Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova

© Sergey Savostianov/TASS

MOSCOW, March 6. /TASS/. Moscow calls on the UK to first conduct an investigation into the case of poisoning former Russian military intelligence (GRU) Colonel Sergey Skripal and his daughter Yulia instead of accusing Russia instantly, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told the Ekho Moskvy (Echo of Moscow) radio station on Tuesday.

When asked to comment on statements made by UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson who said that Russia is "engaged in a host of malign activities," Zakharova described this remark as an absurdity. "As a matter of fact, there are some legal procedures. How can a person who is engaged in politics and has nothing to do with the law enforcement agencies make such statements?" Zakharova said. "To begin with, it is necessary to conduct some investigative actions."

"It’s good that they (Scotland Yard - TASS) have taken up this matter," the diplomat pointed out. "We proceed from the assumption that information will eventually be made public, the way it was in the past, in the cases related to [Boris] Berezovsky or [Alexander] Perepilichny, because all these previous stories did not end in anything."

"We proceed from a premise that the law enforcement agencies will first get some hard evidence and then share it," Zakharova stressed.

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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