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Russia’s embassy: accusations against Moscow in Skripal case based on pure assumptions

The embassy has again called on London to comply with its international obligations

LONDON, May 2. /TASS/. Russia’s embassy to London believes that British officials’ recent statements on the Skripal case prove that the accusations put forward against Russia were based on pure assumptions, the embassy’s press officer said on Wednesday, commenting on remarks by Sir Mark Sedwill, the UK’s national security adviser.

At a Commons defense committee hearing, Sir Mark Sedwill admitted that the British investigators have failed so far to identify those who carried out a nerve agent attack against former GRU Colonel Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury.

"Sir Mark has again confirmed that the most serious accusations put forward against Russia as well as the ensuing far-reaching foreign policy decisions accompanied by mobilization of the whole Western bloc, were based on pure assumptions," the embassy said.

"The UK has no evidence of Russia being involved into the poisoning, or having developed chemical poisons in violation of its international obligations (and no such evidence can possibly exist; it is worth reminding that Russia has clearly stated in a diplomatic note that it has nothing to do with the poisoning)," the press officer said.

About the UK’s doctrine

The new national security strategy named as ‘fusion doctrine’ has come under criticism from Russia’s embassy. The UK strategy, which was announced in late March, pledges to use the country’s "security, economic and influence capabilities to maximum effect to protect, promote and project" national security, economic and influence goals. Among the capabilities are listed tools of diplomatic and cultural influence along with cutting-edge defense technology.

In the comments on Sir Sedwill’s remarks that the UK’s response to the Salisbury incident was an example of the "fusion strategy", the embassy said "this doctrine runs contrary to the genuine interests of the British people."

"Instead of strengthening national security, it bears the risks of hasty and ill-conceived decisions damaging the quality of UK’s relations with its international partners and undermining the country’s credibility. This is also true about the essence of the response to ‘Russia’s behavior’ that London has chosen, namely to expel diplomats (and to inevitably face reciprocal expulsions of British personnel), the very people whose job is to improve relations. Brexit requires exactly the opposite strategies," the Russian embassy asserted.

"Meanwhile, Sir Mark’s attempts to provide a doctrinal basis for the inappropriate moves by the Government cannot negate the fact that Russia, in violation of consular conventions, has been denied access to its nationals, Sergei and Yulia Skripal," the embassy said.

"We have no information on their whereabouts and cannot verify the British statements regarding the health and wishes. Equally, there is no information available on the course of the investigation, while the numerous media leaks turn out to be false, time and again. The situation regarding the murder of another Russian citizen, Nikolay Glushkov, is hardly any better," the press officer continued.

The embassy has again called on London to comply with its international obligations.

"We reiterate our demand to the British Government to ensure compliance with their international legal obligations and the universal rules of international relations, and to urgently provide the Russian side and the public with meaningful proof that Sergei and Yulia Skripal are not forcibly isolated," the embassy press officer said.

"For our part, we reiterate our readiness, expressed more than once, to cooperate with Britain in investigating the Salisbury incident within the framework of existing international mechanisms. We expect London to show the same attitude with regard to the legal assistance requests sent by Russian Prosecutor General’s Office in the framework of the criminal case opened in Russia with respect to the attempt on life of our citizens," he concluded.

Salisbury incident

According to London, former Russian military intelligence officer Sergei Skripal, who had been sentenced in Russia for spying for the UK, and his daughter Yulia, 33, 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.

Up to now, the father and daughter have come out of the coma. According to Salisbury District Hospital, Sergei Skripal remains under medical supervision in the hospital and his health is improving, while Yulia Skripal was discharged and now is recovering in an unspecified location.