MOSCOW, March 19. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin has drawn attention of his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, to the lack of any evidence proving Russia’s alleged involvement in the so-called Skripal case, the Kremlin press service said on Monday after a telephone conversation between the two leaders.
"The sides also touched upon the incident in Salisbury," the Kremlin said. "The Russian side drew attention to the lack of evidence behind accusations against Russia and reiterated its readiness to conduct joint investigation into the incident."
"The two presidents discussed in detail issue of the Syrian settlement in the context of the implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2401 and the crisis in Ukraine in the light of the importance of the implementation of the Minsk agreements," the Kremlin said.
According to the Kremlin, the telephone conversation was initiated by the French leader who called to congratulate Putin on his victory at Sunday’s presidential polls in Russia. Macron spoke in favor of continuing joint work to promote comprehensive bilateral cooperation, including between civil societies within the Trianon Dialogue.
"It was agreed to continue to exchange views on the matters raised during the conversation at various levels," the press service added.
On March 4, former Russian military intelligence Colonel Sergey Skripal and his daughter Yulia were exposed to a nerve agent in the city of Salisbury. They were found unconscious on a bench near a shopping center in Salisbury. Both are currently in the hospital in critical condition. British Prime Minister Theresa May accused Russia of "an unlawful use of force" against her country. Subsequently, she announced that London would expel 23 Russian diplomats and would suspend high-level bilateral contacts. Russia has vehemently denied its alleged involvement in the incident and said retaliatory measures would follow soon.
On Saturday, the Russian foreign minister said that 23 British diplomats had been declared personae non grata to be expelled from Russia in a week’s period. It also said the UK’s consulate general in St. Petersburg would be closed and the British Council would stop its activities. Apart from that, according to the ministry, the Russian side reserved the right to take other measures "should further unfriendly steps are taken against Russia.".