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Kremlin mum on whether statements by Russia’s UN envoy coordinated with Putin

March 15, 16:37 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The Kremlin declined to comment on the process of coordinating statements by Russia’s Permanent Representative to the UN with Vladimir Putin for a Security Council meeting

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Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia

Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia

© AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

MOSCOW, March 15. /TASS/. Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov declined to comment on the process of coordinating statements by Russia’s Permanent Representative to the UN Vasily Nebenzya with Russian President Vladimir Putin for a Security Council meeting.

"No one is going to reveal the internal process of coordination and work in this area," he said, answering a question on whether Nebenzya coordinated some of his statements, in particular that the Novichok-type military-grade nerve agent that was designed in the Soviet Union could now be produced in the UK as well.

The spokesman reiterated that "Mr. Nebenzya is the Russian Permanent Representative to the UN, and he was appointed by the Russian president’s order, so no one should have any doubts about it."

Responding to a question on whether Russia recognizes the findings of the study by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) of the samples of the substance that poisoned ex-colonel of Russia’s Main Intelligence Directorate Sergey Skripal and his daughter, which the OPCW intends to send to London, Peskov said: "I cannot answer you, this is a question for our diplomats dealing with this issue." That said, he pointed out that "the issue concerns some obligatory actions that were stipulated by the relevant conventions and which must be fulfilled in this situation."

On March 4, ex-intelligence officer Sergey Skripal aged 66, and his daughter Yulia, aged 33, came into contact with a nerve agent and were found unconscious on a bench in The Maltings shopping center in Salisbury. Both of them have been hospitalized and are presently in critical condition. In 2004, Skripal was arrested by the Federal Security Service and later sentenced to 13 years in prison for treason, and stripped of all his titles and awards. In 2010, the former colonel was transferred to the US during a swap of people arrested on espionage charges and moved to the UK the same year.

The British side accused Russia of being behind this incident and the poisoning itself to have been caused by a Novichok-type military-grade nerve agent designed in the Soviet Union. UK Prime Minister Theresa May blamed Russia for the illegal use of force on British soil and declared the expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats and other restrictions against Russia. The Russian side refuted its alleged involvement in the incident and declared it would carry out tit-for-tat actions in the near future.

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