MOSCOW, April 1. /TASS/. The so-called Skripal case is a provocation by the British intelligence service aimed at containing Russia, Russia’s Ambassador to the UK Alexander Yakovenko said in an interview with Itogi Nedeli (Weekly Results) program on NTV TV Channel on Sunday.
"Several years ago, Britain was actively thinking about what its role in the western alliance would be. So, at that time, when the national security concept [the UK National Security Strategy and Strategic Defense and Security Review 2015] was adopted and a bit later Theresa May confirmed this, the Britons took the course towards the leading role in the so-called containment of Russia," the envoy said.
According to the ambassador, in order to contain Russia, "a powerful provocation" was needed so that "this position could be supported by the government and people."
"Such a wild provocation was most likely staged by the Britons to accuse Russia in many areas and contain it," Yakovenko said.
Relations between Moscow and London have deteriorated sharply over the poisoning of former Russian military intelligence officer Sergei Skripal, who was earlier sentenced in Russia for spying for the UK, and his daughter Yulia, who on March 4 were found unconscious on a bench near the Maltings shopping center in Salisbury. Police said they had been exposed to a nerve agent.
Later, London claimed that the toxin of Novichok-class had been allegedly developed in Russia. With that, the UK rushed to accuse Russia of being involved, while failing to produce any evidence. Moscow refuted the accusations that it had been involved in the incident and points out that neither the Soviet Union nor Russia has ever done research into that toxic chemical.
Without providing any proof, London expelled 23 Russian diplomats and suspended all planned high-level bilateral contacts. In response, Moscow expelled the equal number of UK diplomats. In addition, Britain’s consulate in St. Petersburg was ordered to be closed and the British Council’s operations in Russia were terminated.