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Russian embassy sent note to UK about Skripals ‘moving’ to New Zealand, says envoy

The ambassador recalled that New Zealand’s leadership had refuted the claims that the former spy and his daughter moved there
The Russian embassy in London Ilya Dmitryachev/TASS
The Russian embassy in London
© Ilya Dmitryachev/TASS

MOSCOW, June 18. /TASS/. The Russian embassy in London has sent a note to the UK Foreign Office, demanding a comment regarding reports that emerged in the media, claiming that Russian citizens Sergei and Yulia Skripals possibly moved to New Zealand, Russian Ambassador to the United Kingdom Andrei Kelin said Thursday in an open interview with TASS First Deputy Director General Mikhail Gusman.

"Indeed, we sent a note to the British Foreign Office, asking it [to explain] what’s happening," he said.

Kelin underlined that the embassy had previously sent dozens of notes to the UK side, demanding explanations on the Skripals case. "We are not getting any answers," the diplomat lamented.

The ambassador also recalled that New Zealand’s leadership had already refuted the claims that the former spy and his daughter moved there.

Speaking separately about the BBC mini-series about the incident in Salisbury that came out recently, Kelin pointed out that "we didn’t see or learn" anything new. "This is a replay of the same old episodes at a slightly different angle, from the point of view of the local emergency department and sanitary services. I have been here for six months [as ambassador to the UK], and we have not received a single piece of new information about the Skripals or the case itself," the diplomat stressed.

On March 4, 2018, former GRU (Russia’s Main Intelligence Directorate) officer 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 the so-called Novichok nerve agent in the British city of Salisbury. Claiming that the substance used in the attack had been a nerve agent allegedly developed in Russia, London rushed to accuse Moscow of being involved in the incident. The Russian side dismissed all of the United Kingdom’s accusations, saying that a program aimed at developing such a substance had existed neither in the Soviet Union nor in Russia. Britain’s military chemical laboratory at Porton Down failed to pinpoint the origin of the substance that allegedly poisoned the Skripals.

On June 7, British Sunday Times published a report citing a high-ranking source in the UK government that Sergei and Yulia Skripals had moved to New Zealand under new identities with new documents.