MOSCOW, March 21. /TASS/. Foreign ambassadors will arrive in the Russian Foreign Ministry on Wednesday to receive clarification on the situation around the UK’s statement on the use of nerve agents for poisoning former Russian spy Sergei Skripal in Salisbury.
The Russian Foreign Ministry’s Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova invited the ambassadors to Moscow on Tuesday. "We’ve invited all the ambassadors accredited in Russia to a meeting with the top officials and experts of the department for nonproliferation and arms control," Zakharova said. "The main topic will be the situation around the UK’s allegations on the use of a nerve agent on its territory."
Many experts have shared their views and assessments on the Skripal case, but due to London’s position no one knows what type of substance had been used in Salisbury, she said. "Consequently, all the allegations only distract attention from the main issue, which is the UK’s reluctance to provide any materials to Russia on the background of showering it with loutish accusations," Zakharova stressed.
The ambassadors of the UN Security Council’s permanent member-states to Moscow have not commented on the invitation so far. The UK Embassy told TASS that the decision on taking part in the meeting would be made on Wednesday.
The Embassies of China, the United States and France said they could not answer the question.
Diplomatic missions of 144 states recognized by the UN are located in Moscow as well as the Embassies of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which were recognized by Russia and several other countries as independent states.
Ex-Colonel Sergei Skripal from Russia’s Main Intelligence Directorate and his daughter Yulia were poisoned with a nerve agent on March 4 and found unconscious on a bench in Salisbury, UK. Both of them have been hospitalized and are in critical condition.
British authorities blamed Russia for the poisoning, but failed to provide any evidence to support their accusations. Russia refuted all of London’s allegations. With that, UK Prime Minister Theresa May announced the expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats and the suspension of high-level bilateral contacts. On Saturday, in response to London’s moves, the Russian Foreign Ministry reported that Russia had declared 23 British diplomats personae-non-gratae and would expel them within a week, close the British consulate general in St. Petersburg, and terminate the British Council’s activity in Russia.