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UK blocks Russia-initiated UNSC statement on Skripal incident

According the Russian mission, the British delegation offered "amendments that distort the essence of the document"
UK Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Jonathan Allen  AP Photo/Mary Altaffer
UK Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Jonathan Allen
© AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

UNITED NATIONS, March 15. /TASS/. The United Kingdom "in blunt terms and under politicized pretexts" has blocked a Russia-initiated United Nations Security Council statement on the incident with poisoning of former military intelligence (GRU) Colonel Sergei Skripal, the Russian mission to the United Nations said.

"The brief and factual draft press statement initiated by Russia at the United Nations Security Council meeting on March 14, which calls for an urgent civilized investigation of the high-profile chemical incident in the United Kingdom in conformity with the standards of the sectoral organization (the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, or OPCW), was blocked by representatives of that country in blunt terms and under politicized pretexts," said the mission’s press secretary, Fyodor Strzhizhovsky.

According to the press secretary, the British delegation offered "amendments that distort the essence of the document that was meant to preserve unity of the United Nations Security Council on this matter."

The Russia-initiated draft press statement consisted of two sentences. It expressed profound concern over reports about the supposed use of a nerve agent in the United Kingdom and called on all parties concerned to cooperate in the investigation of this incident in conformity with their liabilities under the Chemical Weapons Convention.

The United Nations Security Council held an open meeting on Wednesday to discuss the Skripal case. Accusations of Russia’s being behind the incident were voiced by British and US diplomats. Russia’s Permanent Representative Vasily Nebenzya categorically denied Russia’s involvement, noting that the Novichok agent allegedly used to poison the former GRU officer could have been manufactured in the United Kingdom.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May on March 14 accused Russia of "an unlawful use of force" against her country following an incident involving former GRU military intelligence Colonel Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia. She said that 23 Russian diplomats would be expelled from the country within one week and that British officials would be absent from the FIFA World Cup finals.

Along with this, May claimed that Moscow might have lost control of the reserves of the nerve agent that had been used for an attack against the Skripals. She said they had been poisoned with a nerve agent of the Novichok group of chemicals, developed in the Soviet Union.

In the meantime, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Russia had nothing to do with the poisoning of Skripal and his daughter and that London was trying to mislead the world community. Moscow urged London for related evidence and for providing them in keeping with the official procedures.

On March 4, Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found unconscious on a bench near the Maltings shopping center in Salisbury after being exposed to a nerve agent. Both are in hospital in critical condition.

In 2004, Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) arrested Skripal and later on, he was sentenced to 13 years in prison for high treason. In 2010, the former colonel was handed over to the US as part of a swap involving espionage suspects. Later in the same year, Skripal arrived in the UK and settled there.