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Russian embassy in UK slams US sanctions as way to exert pressure on investigation

The embassy calls Great Britain’s accusations against Russia 'groundless'

LONDON, August 10. /TASS/. Great Britain’s groundless accusations against Russia in connection with the Salisbury incident, as well as the introduction of new US sanctions, are aimed at exerting pressure on the investigation," a spokesperson for the Russian embassy in London said in a statement.

"The British authorities’ groundless accusations against Russia as well as the new US sanctions are aimed at exerting pressure on the ongoing investigation. This is, perhaps, the reason why the public has no information about this inquiry as it may differ from what British and US officials are stating," the statement reads.

"It seems as if the US, as it was in the case of the Russian diplomats’ expulsion in March, has come to the rescue of London in their double game, while the British authorities are unable to present any credible evidence in support of their argument that Russia is responsible for the Salisbury incident," the embassy said.

"At the same time, the US itself, according to our embassy in Washington, ‘refused to answer our follow-up questions, claiming that the information is classified’," the press officer pointed out.

"Apparently, the US has exhausted all the excuses for new sanctions against Russia. Now they decided to resort to the classified information, which can never be verified or openly presented in court. We regret that the US actively supports absolutely non-transparent policy of the British authorities regarding the investigation of the Salisbury incident," the statement said.

On Wednesday, the US Department of State said in a statement that Washington was imposing new sanctions on Moscow over its alleged involvement in the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in the British city of Salisbury. The first round of sanctions will take effect on August 22, while a second round may be introduced in 90 days in case Russia fails to meet certain conditions, the State Department said.

Salisbury incident

According to London, former Russian military intelligence (GRU) Colonel Sergei Skripal, 66, who had been convicted in Russia of spying for Great Britain and later swapped for Russian intelligence officers, 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 neither the Soviet Union nor Russia ever had any program aimed at developing such a substance.