LONDON, April 10. /TASS/. The British Foreign Office has refused to comment on the investigation into the alleged poisoning of former Russian military intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury, the Russian embassy to the United Kingdom said on Tuesday.
According to the Russian embassy, in response to its "legitimate requests which version of the many circulating in the media is the official one, today we have received a reply stating that the FCO respects the freedom of the press, does not interfere with what the media does and does not publish and will not be commenting on media coverage of an ‘on-going investigation’".
"So, it turns out that an "on-going investigation" is not an obstacle for British authorities to accuse someone of a serious crime, but to inform the Embassy of the course of that investigation is somehow impossible. Moreover, this does not prevent them from carefully counting all versions mentioned by the guests of Russian talk shows, presenting them as official ones and accusing Russia of trying to obfuscate the facts," the embassy said.
"All of this is yet another evidence of double standards practiced by the British government that destroy people’s lives and the basics of interstate relations for the sake of narrow domestic political interests. We urge British authorities to act in a transparent way while it is still possible to try fixing the damage they have caused to the international image of their country," the Russian embassy stressed.
According to London, Sergei and Yulia Skripal suffered the effects of an alleged nerve agent in the British city of Salisbury on March 4. Claiming that the substance used in the attack had been a Novichok-class nerve agent developed in the Soviet Union, London 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.
On April 3, Chief Executive of the Defense Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) at Porton Down Gary Aitkenhead told Sky News that British experts had been unable to identify the origin of the nerve agent used to attack Skripal and his daughter.
However, in the wake of the Salisbury incident, the UK expelled 23 Russian diplomats and announced other restrictive measures against Moscow without presenting any evidence of its involvement in the incident. In retaliation to the UK’s steps, Russia expelled 23 British diplomats, closed the British consulate general in the city of St. Petersburg, while the British Council had to shut down its operations in Russia. The United Kingdom was later requested to reduce the number of its diplomatic staff in Russia so that it would match the number of Russian diplomats in Great Britain.