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Russia ready to assist in investigation into any issue, including Skripal case - Lavrov

Requests should be through professional channels, the minister said

ADDIS ABABA, March 9. /TASS/. Russia is ready to assist in investigation into any case, including the poisoning of former Russian military intelligence (GRU) Colonel Sergey Skripal and his daughter, if professional channels are used for request, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said following a meeting with African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat on Friday.

"If someone is interested in our assistance in this or that investigation, whether that be poisoning of any British nationals, or rumors on meddling in the US election campaign, if assistance is required, we will be ready to consider this possibility. But for those matters to be solved it is not necessary to hurl unfounded accusations on TV, instead requests should be made through professional channels, including law enforcement bodies," he said.

Lavrov also mentioned the parallels drawn by the British side between the Skripal case and the death of а former FSB officer Alexander Litvinenko. "I want to point out that the inquest into the death of Litvinenko that was put on Russia, has not been completed, as the trial that was referred to as a public one, was actually held behind closed doors and in a weird way, and numerous facts that were revealed during the trial never came to light. We offered assistance, offered cooperation, as a whole number of issues that arose concerned the Russian Federation, but the British system of justice thought superior and considered it sufficient to simply deliver an unfounded verdict, which is far from being comprehensive," Russia’s top diplomat said.

"I would recommend those who are interested in the issue to walk after rules and turn to countries, from which they would like to receive information through existing professional, not propaganda channels," he added.

In 2004, Sergey Skripal, aged 66, was arrested by the Federal Security Service and later sentenced to 13 years in prison for state treason. Six years later, the former colonel was transferred to the US during an exchange of people arrested on espionage charges.

On March 4, Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found unconscious on a bench at The Maltings shopping center in Salisbury. They are still in hospital in a critical condition.

As the UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson spoke earlier this week in the House of the Commons, he drew parallels between the cases of Skripal and Litvinenko, who lived in a self-imposed exile in London from 2001 and until his bizarre death at the end of 2006. He added that Russia is "engaged in a host of malign activities".