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Lavrov slams UK denial of Russian consular access to Skripals as tantamount to kidnapping

The Russian top diplomat comments on the Scripal poisoning case

MOSCOW, May 3. /TASS/. The British authorities’ refusal to grant Russia consular access to former GRU Colonel Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia is a reason enough to regard the whole affair as abduction or intentional isolation, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told Italy’s weekly Panorama in an interview.

"Russia is worried over the health and position of the Skripals, whom the British authorities dragged into this provocation. The British authorities’ refusal to grant consular access is a reason enough to consider the current situation as abduction or intentional isolation. This is utterly unacceptable," Lavrov said.

In his opinion, instead of actions in compliance with international law Lavrov prefers loud statements and "megaphone diplomacy," but Russia remains prepared for cooperation.

"We are ready for concrete cooperation with Britain. We urge London to cooperate honestly within the framework of the criminal case Russia’s Investigative Committee opened over an attempt at premeditated murder and of the relevant queries the Prosecutor-General’s Office dispatched to Britain," Lavrov said.

On March 4, former GRU Colonel Sergey Skripal, 66, convicted in Russia of spying for Britain and his 33-year-old daughter Yulia were affected by a nerve agent in Salisbury, if the British version of the incident is to be believed. London later alleged that the substance had been developed in Russia and blamed Moscow for the incident. Russia dismissed all speculations on that score.

Both Skripals are reported to have woken up from coma. A hospital in Salisbury says that Sergei Skripal still undergoes stationary treatment and his condition is improving, while his daughter was released from hospital earlier and is recovering at an unknown place.