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Russia’s UK embassy says claims of Moscow’s role in Skripal case always looked like bluff

April 04, 3:40 UTC+3 LONDON

The statement came in response to an interview by the head of the Porton Down lab, who said they had not been able to establish the origin of the substance used at the Salisbury poisoning

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LONDON, April 4. /TASS/. The UK Government’s claims about Russia’s role in the Skripal case looked like a clear bluff from the very beginning, a spokesperson for the Russian embassy in London said on Tuesday.

The statement came in response to an interview by Gary Aitkenhead, Chief Executive of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) at Porton Down, who told Sky News on Tuesday they had not been able to establish the origin of the substance used at the Salisbury poisoning.

"We understood from the very start that UK Government statements on the nerve agent having been produced in Russia were a bluff. Now this has been confirmed by the head of the secret lab," the spokesperson said in a statement. "This only proves that all political declarations on the Russian origin of the crime are nothing but assumptions not stemming from objective facts or the course of the investigation.

The source said the embassy has "also noted that, like in his earlier interview, Mr Aitkenhead is not denying that the lab had developed or keeps stocks of the agent they call "novichok", although, of course, he would not admit it."

"By the way, some time ago we asked the Foreign Office to facilitate a meeting with Mr Aitkenhead or his colleagues, but have got no reply," the spokesperson added. "One has to conclude that the UK Government prefers to block the Embassy from discussing the matter with experts who may possess the uncomfortable truth."

On March 4, Sergei Skripal, who had been convicted in Russia of spying for Great Britain and later swapped for Russian intelligence officers, and his daughter Yulia suffered the effects of an alleged nerve agent in the British city of Salisbury.

Claiming that the substance used in the attack had been a Novichok-class nerve agent developed in the Soviet Union, London earlier rushed to accuse Russia of being involved in the incident. Moscow rejected all of the United Kingdom’s accusations, saying that a program aimed at developing such a substance had existed neither in the Soviet Union nor in Russia.

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