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Russia slams UK for arbitrary interpretation of Chemical Weapons Convention provisions

The Russian Embassy in London comments on the investigation of the poisoning incident in the city of Amesbury

LONDON, August 8. /TASS/. The official London manipulates the provisions of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) while investigating the poisoning incident in the city of Amesbury, a spokesman for the Russian Embassy in London told reporters on Wednesday.

"The technical assistance requested by the British authorities to ‘independently confirm the identity of the nerve agent,’ unfortunately, lacks transparency and attests to UK’s arbitrary interpretation of the CWC," the diplomat said when asked to comment on a statement by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) on Britain's request for additional assistance from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to investigate the aforementioned incident.

He stressed that, although the Embassy is in no position to comment on the investigation into the Amesbury incident related to the British nationals, the Russian diplomatic mission is "interested in establishing the truth of what happened in Salisbury as the UK has again invited the OPCW experts to continue their work on identifying the nerve agent."

"Our approach is absolutely clear - we seek the truth and wish to know what happened to the Russian nationals in Salisbury and where they are now," he noted.

The diplomat stressed that "no substantive answers have been provided by the British authorities to our numerous legitimate and comprehensive questions."

"Over the last five months, the Embassy has sent a number of Notes Verbales requesting the FCO to clarify as to how and by whom blood samples from Sergei and Yulia Skripal were collected; how it was documented; what was the procedure of sample collection; what assistance from the OPCW was requested; what information and material evidence the British side provided to the OPCW experts," he said.

"The fact that the Technical Secretariat of the OPCW did not confirm, and could not confirm by definition, the country of origin of the nerve agent, traces of which were found in Salisbury, has not stopped the UK from whipping up their anti-Russian campaign. Shortly after the Salisbury incident Russia proposed cooperation under paragraph 2, Article IX of the CWC and to hold a joint investigation into the incident. However, the British side has categorically declined," the diplomat added.

Amesbury and Salisbury incidents

On June 30, Dawn Sturgess, 44, and Charles Rowley, 45, were hospitalized in critical condition in the British town of Amesbury. Sturgess died in hospital on July 8, while Rowley was discharged from the hospital on July 20.

The Metropolitan Police claimed later that the two had been exposed to Novichok, the same nerve agent that was allegedly used in the March attack on former Russian military intelligence (GRU) Colonel Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in neighboring Salisbury.

On March 4, Sergei Skripal, 66, who had been convicted in Russia for spying for the UK but later swapped for Russian intelligence officers, and his daughter Yulia, 33, were found unconscious on a bench near the Maltings shopping center in Salisbury. Police said they suffered the effects of an alleged nerve agent.

Later on, London claimed that the Novichok-class toxin had been developed in Russia. The UK rushed to accuse Russia of being involved failing to furnish any evidence. Moscow refuted the accusations stating that neither the Soviet Union nor Russia had ever done research on that toxic agent.