MOSCOW, March 21. /TASS/. Moscow doubts that any of the actual evidence in the Salisbury poisoning saga is in fact valid, Head of the Non-Proliferation and Arms Control Department at the Russian Defense Ministry Vladimir Yermakov said at a briefing for foreign ambassadors on Wednesday.
The Russian diplomat drew attention to the UK's allegations that a warfare agent was used in the attack on ex-Colonel Sergei Skripal from Russia’s Main Intelligence Directorate and his daughter, Yulia. "The question arises immediately: these British town criers, do they imagine what a warfare agent is? As any self-respecting expert will tell you that the actual use of a chemical warfare agent will inevitably lead to numerous victims right at the spot where it was used," Yermakov said, noting that this was not the case in the Salisbury incident.
"If the subject-matter for investigation has still not been determined for sure, and all facts are being deliberately covered up, while the real evidence may have disappeared anyway, since this has occurred in the UK more than once, then it is absolutely unclear what they, in the UK, are talking about at all, and what certain commitments under the Chemical Weapons Convention have to do with this at all?" the diplomat asked. He also said that the above Convention envisages a clear and simple mechanism for bilateral consultations, which London has dismissed.
"Can this be some hypnosis under the influence of Mike Bassett’s Strike Back series aired in the UK several months ago and featuring a certain Novichok?" he asked in comments on London’s accusations against Moscow.
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Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned with a nerve agent on March 4 and found unconscious on a bench in Salisbury, UK. Both of them were hospitalized and are in critical condition.
British authorities blamed Russia for the poisoning, but failed to provide any evidence to support their accusations. Russia responded by refuting all of London’s allegations. With that, UK Prime Minister Theresa May announced the expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats and the suspension of high-level bilateral contacts. On Saturday, in response to London’s moves, the Russian Foreign Ministry reported that Russia had declared 23 British diplomats personae-non-gratae and would expel them within a week, close the British consulate general in St. Petersburg, and terminate the British Council’s activity in Russia.