All news

Russian ambassador meets with UK citizen exposed to nerve agent in Amesbury

Alexander Yakovenko added that he is ready to meet with Sturgess’ family, if they make such a request
Charles Rowley, his brother Matthew Rowley and Russian Ambassador to the UK Alexander Yakovenko Ilya Dmitrichev/TASS
Charles Rowley, his brother Matthew Rowley and Russian Ambassador to the UK Alexander Yakovenko
© Ilya Dmitrichev/TASS

LONDON, April 7. /TASS/. Charles Rowley, a UK citizen that had been exposed to a nerve agent last summer in Amesbury, has visited the Russian Embassy in the UK on Saturday, where he met with Russian Ambassador to the UK Alexander Yakovenko.

On June 30, 2018, 44-year-old Dawn Sturgess and 45-year-old Charles Rowley were hospitalized in critical condition in the British town of Amesbury. The Metropolitan Police went on to claim that the two had been exposed to Novichok, the same nerve agent that was allegedly used in the Skripal poisoning. After being mysteriously exposed to a nerve agent and falling into a coma, Sturgess died on July 8, while Rowley was discharged from the hospital

Yakovenko has given Rowley and his brother a tour of the embassy, and then they talked for some time behind closed doors. The meeting lasted for about an hour. After the visit, the Russian ambassador told TASS that the UK citizens had made a positive impression on him.

"Very pleasant people. They had many questions towards us, and I was glad to answer them. I presented them with our report ["Salisbury: Unanswered Questions", timed to the first anniversary of the attack on the Skripals], where we gave our detailed take on what went down in Salisbury," Yakovenko said.

"I have to say that the majority of questions have been related to the complete lack of information from the side of the British. Namely, they [the Rowley brothers] asked us whether Russia had poisoned the Skripals, and whether Russia is the only country that could have produced Novichok. We provided a full explanation on this matter, and I have proven to him once again that this Novichok can be made in any European laboratory, which is what took place in the Czech Republic and in other countries as well," the ambassador noted.

According to Yakovenko, the British citizens "talked a lot about their health". "They are upset, because despite the treatment, Rowley’s condition continues to gradually worsen. He has expressed interest in undergoing treatment in a third country," the Russian ambassador said.

Yakovenko pointed out that neither Rowley nor his brother has their version of what had taken place. "They have no versions of their own; they only see what is written in the British papers. I asked the Rowleys whether they know what was used during his treatment, and they said that they do not," the diplomat added.

"My impression was that the purpose of their visit was to try and find out what happened. People just want to know the truth. They have no claims against Russia," the ambassador stressed.

"They have received no official reports, and probably about 80% of what I said today was a revelation to them. The family of the deceased Sturgess, of course, [also] wants to see the findings of the investigation and is very confused by the fact that they have no information on this case," he stated.

The ambassador added that he is ready to meet with Sturgess’ family, if they make such a request.

The Skripal incident

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.