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Moscow requests US, Britain hand over data from ‘handout’ on Skripal case

The Russian Foreign Ministry has asked the Embassies of the US, UK to provide information from Britain’s "handout" on the Skripal poisoning case

MOSCOW, March 27. /TASS/. The Russian Foreign Ministry has asked the Embassies of the United States and the United Kingdom to provide information from Britain’s "handout" on the poisoning case of former Russian military intelligence Colonel Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Tuesday.

"After this interview (granted by US Ambassador Jon Huntsman to TASS and Kommersant daily), I am asking the US and UK Embassies in Moscow to forward this information to the Russian Foreign Ministry, which they send to each other as ‘evidence to build this case.’ However, they have not handed it over to Russia nor have they made it public," Zakharova wrote on Facebook. "What is this ‘handout corralling the information’ on the incident is all about, which proves the state’s involvement in such a terrible crime?"

US Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman said on Monday that the UK had circulated a certain handout on Skripal’s poisoning at a briefing for foreign diplomats in Moscow.

"I think you have to look at the information that was released publicly by the UK," the ambassador said. "They did a very good job corralling the information they had based on this incident and incidents historically. And they put it together in a handout so I would refer you to the handout because it was a very convincing presentation."

Zakharova asked the following question. "On the basis of what evidence did the US make a decision that Russia is ‘guilty’? If the files were handed over to EU member-states and the US, then why have they not been made public? And, most importantly, why have the decisions been made without being tied to any court or an investigation?" she stressed.

On March 26, Washington announced its decision to expel 60 Russian diplomats, including 48 embassy staff and 12 members of Russia’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations, demanding they leave the country within a week. Apart from that, it said Russia’s Consulate General in Seattle would be closed. The move was prompted by the incident involving the alleged poisoning of former Russian military intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, in Salisbury, the UK.

On March 4, Skripal, who had been convicted in Russia of spying for Great Britain and exchanged for Russian intelligence officers, and his daughter Yulia were found unconscious on a bench near the Maltings shopping center in Salisbury. Police said they had allegedly been exposed to a nerve agent. Both are in the hospital in critical condition.

London immediately accused Russia of being involved, but failed to produce any evidence. UK Prime Minister Theresa May blamed Russia for "unlawful use of force" against her country. She identified the alleged substance used in the attack as the Novichok nerve agent, developed in the former Soviet Union. The UK expelled 23 Russian diplomats and announced other restrictive measures against Moscow.

Russia has flatly rejected these allegations pointing out that neither the Soviet Union nor Russia had any programs to develop that substance.