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Russian embassy comments on Scripal case

The British authorities have been keeping Russian nationals Sergei and Yulia Skripals in total isolation for six months, the embassy stresses

LONDON, September 4. /TASS/. The British authorities have been keeping Russian nationals Sergei and Yulia Skripals in total isolation for six months, depriving them of a possibility to speak freely with their relatives, journalists and Russian officials, the Russian embassy in the United Kingdom said on Tuesday, describing the situation as deprivation of liberty.

"Today marks exactly six months since the Russian citizens Sergei and Yulia Skripal were taken to Salisbury District Hospital under obscure circumstances. Ever since, they have been kept in isolation and under full control of British authorities. They remain out of the public eye at an unknown location, unable to communicate freely with their relatives, friends, journalists or Russian officials, deprived of the freedom of movement. The British authorities have been continuously refusing the Embassy to establish direct contact with the Skripals in order to verify their actual health situation, the conditions in which they are held and, most importantly, to ascertain to which extent their isolation is voluntary," the embassy said.

The UK flagrantly violates Russia’s lawful right to have access to its citizens envisaged by the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and the bilateral Consular Convention of 1965.

"The de-facto deprivation of liberty of the Skripals is highly questionable from the point of view of observance of their rights confirmed in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 1950 Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms," the embassy stressed.

According to the embassy, over these six months London has been ignoring practically all the questions, initiatives and inquiries from the Russian side, blatantly violating basic diplomatic courtesy. The embassy said it had sent more than 70 notes of verbales and letters to the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), the Home Office and the Police. Its employees regularly raise the Skripal topic during FCO officials.

"As before, Russia intends to vigorously pursue the efforts on establishing the truth on what happened in Salisbury and to demand that the British authorities present all information on the incident, provide access to the Russian citizens and launch a genuinely transparent investigation in cooperation with Russian experts," the embassy underscored.

Salisbury incident

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, England on March 4. Police said they were exposed to a nerve agent.

Later on, London claimed that the Novichok-class toxin had been allegedly developed in Russia. The UK rushed to accuse Russia of being involved, while failing to furnish any evidence. Moscow refuted the accusations stating that neither the Soviet Union nor Russia had ever done research on that toxic chemical. Specialists from Britain’s army laboratory said later they were unable to identify the origin of the substance used to poison the Skripals.