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Moscow’s questions over Skripal case handed to French senators — senior legislator

April 05, 2018, 18:52 UTC+3 PARIS

France keeps hiding behind London’s official stance, Konstantin Kosachyov said

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PARIS, April 5. /TASS/. Russian senators have handed to their French counterparts a list of Moscow’s questions Russia would like to be answered in connection with the Skripal affair, the chairman of the Federation Council’s international affairs committee, Konstantin Kosachyov, told the media on Thursday.

The Russian embassy in Paris earlier dispatched a note to the French Foreign Ministry with a list of questions about the Skripal case. They concerned most of all the reasons why France had been invited to participate in the investigation, what role the French experts played and what evidence there was that made it possible to conclude the toxic substance used in Salisbury was of Russian origin.

"We briefed the French counterparts on the questions Russia had put to Paris in an official way," Kosachyov said. "We brought a French translation of these questions and handed a copy of the translation to each of the French senators who participated in the meeting," he said.

"Our counterparts pretended they were not in the know. Possibly, some were sincere while others not. They told us they had not seen the questions in that form yet and promised to make inquiries with the government and to ask the government why there have been no answers," Kosachyov said.

"There are no answers and this is a hard fact. Alas, this is an official position of France, which keeps hiding behind London’s official stance," Kosachyov said, adding it was very regrettable.

Skripal case

On March 4, Sergei Skripal, 66, convicted in Russia of spying for Britain and his daughter Yulia, 33, were affected by a nerve gas in Salisbury, if the British version of the incident is to be believed. London later alleged that the chemical agent had been developed in Russia and for this reason blamed Moscow for complicity in the poisoning. Russia strongly dismissed these speculations, saying that there had been no programs for research into such agents either in the Soviet Union or in Russia. Without presenting any proof London expelled 23 Russian diplomats and took other anti-Russian measures. Moscow responded by expelling as many British embassy staffers and issuing orders to close down the British consulate in St. Petersburg and terminating the activity of the British Council in Russia.

Furthermore, the Russian Foreign Ministry demanded the overall staff of the British embassy in Moscow and the consulates in Russia be equalized to the number of Russian diplomats and technical personnel working on long-term assignments in the United Kingdom.

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