MOSCOW, January 31. /TASS/. The European Union’s sanctions slapped on Moscow and Damascus under a new mechanism to punish for the use of chemical weapons are entirely based on speculations, Russia’s Permanent Representative to the EU Vladimir Chizhov said in an interview with TASS on Thursday.
According to the diplomat, initially Brussels said this mechanism was not related to any country. "Maybe someone believed this, but not we," he noted. "And Russia and Syria were the first candidates to be targeted by the sanctions stinger."
"The decision on [introducing sanctions - TASS] does not actually change anything, it is based on speculations, fantasies and bogus stories," Chizhov stressed. "Our noble British and other partners have discarded the notorious ‘highly likely’ formula and are now switching to the next stage: no doubts in their allegations are fixed anymore."
On January 21, the EU Council imposed sanctions on four staff members of Russia’s GRU military intelligence service in connection with the Skripal poisoning case as part of the EU’s new round of restrictive measures against individuals thought to be responsible for the production and dissemination of chemical weapons. The sanctions were also expanded against the Syrian authorities: more than 15 individuals and companies were included in the blacklist.
According to London, former Russian military intelligence (GRU) Colonel Sergei Skripal, who had been convicted in Russia of spying for Great Britain and later swapped for Russian intelligence officers, and his daughter Yulia suffered the effects of an alleged nerve agent in the British city of Salisbury on March 4, 2018. 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.