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Foreign Ministry: London blocks leakage to media that could clarify Skripal poisoning case

This leakage could prove the involvement of British authorities in the specified anti-Russian provocation, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry's spokeswoman

MOSCOW, May 4. /TASS/. London is intentionally blocking leakage of information to mass media on the poisoning case of former GRU Colonel Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, which could prove the involvement of British authorities in this anti-Russian provocation, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said at Friday’s briefing.

"We paid attention to the fact that the British government is using the state ban on public coverage of certain circumstances of this event in media," she noted. "This behavior leads to the idea of a strict state censure in the UK and London’s attempts to avoid leakage," the diplomat stressed. "This leakage could prove the involvement of British authorities in the specified anti-Russian provocation, and this is why it is being blocked."

In particular, Zakharova pointed to the fact that "the British government banned the mentioning of Skripal’s supposed handler, British intelligence officer Pablo Miller, in mass media and impedes appearance of information about Miller’s ties to Orbis Business Intelligence, a company which specializes in business intelligence, where Christopher Steele, who made the so-called ‘dossier’ on [US] President [Donald] Trump, also worked."

"The media campaign on this incident unleashed by the British side has subsided. All interest seems to have disappeared when it came down to the need to give straight answers to specific questions," the Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman stated.

On March 4, former Russian intelligence officer and convicted British spy Sergei Skripal, aged 66, and his daughter Yulia, aged 33, were allegedly poisoned with a nerve agent, according to British investigators. Later, London stated that this agent was designed in Russia and blamed Moscow for being behind the incident based on this assumption. The Russian side refuted all accusations, saying that neither the Soviet Union, nor Russia had any programs for developing this agent. London expelled 23 Russian diplomats without providing any evidence and stated that other anti-Russian measures would follow, after which Moscow took retaliatory measures by ejecting the same number of the British embassy staff members and ordering the closure of the UK’s consulate general in St. Petersburg and terminating the activity of the British Council in Russia.

Later, the Russian Foreign Ministry also demanded to make the number of the British Embassy staff in Moscow and the UK’s consulates general in Russia equal to the number of Russian diplomats and technical staff staying in the United Kingdom. The sparked diplomatic scandal prompted some Western countries to expel more than 100 Russian diplomats "in solidary" with the UK, to which Moscow responded in kind based on the principle of reciprocity.