All news

Russia’s top UK envoy believes Skripal saga mirrors Litvinenko murder investigation

Yakovenko indicated that the British officials refused to report any information on Sergei Skripal’s current condition under the pretext he was a national of the UK

MOSCOW, March 22. /TASS/. London’s actions in the situation around the poisoning of the former Russian intelligence officer and British spy Sergei Skripal replicate the investigation into the murder of the former Russian security operative, Alexander Litvinenko, who died in London in November 2006, the Russian Ambassador to the UK, Alexander Yakovenko, told Rossiya-1 channel on Wednesday.

"The Britons have made the whole investigation procedure fully classified," Yakovenko said. "Since March 4, for sixteen days already we don’t have any information on where they [Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia - TASS] are or what their health status is."

"We don’t have any opportunity to speak to the physicians," he went on. "No one in the UK has seen the Skripals’ photos and no one actually knows whether or not they are really in Salisbury."

"This means they [the British authorities] are replicating the same scheme they made a ploy of in connection with Alexander Litvinenko’s murder," Yakovenko said.

He indicated that the British officials refused to report any information on Sergei Skripal’s current condition under the pretext he was a national of the UK.

Yakovenko said it was highly deplorable that any kind of contacts between the Russian Embassy in London and the British Foreign Office were limited.

"The Foreign Office is practically evading any contacts with us and is trying to drown the case in uncertainty by nodding at the police, which are also reluctant to communicate with us," he said. "We hear the main interpretations of the situation from the media, which are infused with ever more new fantasies."

The former colonel of the Russian military intelligence service GRU, Sergei Skripal, 66, and his 33-year-old daughter Yulia who had come to see him from Moscow the day before, were found sitting in a comatose condition on a bench outside a shopping mall in the town of Salisbury on March 4. The police said later they had been poisoned with a nerve agent.

Sergei and Yulia were taken to hospital, with the physicians describing their health status as critical. Reports on their condition have been scanty and vague ever since then.

On the background of a frantic anti-Russian hysteria in the mainstream media, the British authorities rushed to issue charges to Russia but refused to provide a sample of the alleged nerve agent Novichok or any practical evidence in general.

Russian officials including President Vladimir Putin have resolutely refuted any accusations in connection with the nerve agent, saying Moscow destroyed all of its stockpiles of chemical weapons under supervision of international organizations in charge of disarmament.

They have also said neither the USSR nor Russia ever had any programs for development and production of a war gas with the codename ‘Novichok’.

On the power of the scandal, the British government has expelled 23 Russian diplomats. Moscow has sent packing the symmetric number of diplomats and ordered the closure of the UK Consulate General in St Petersburg. It has also stopped the operations of the British Council in Russia.