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Moscow sends note to London listing questions on Skripal case — ministry

Firstly, the Russian Foreign Ministry asked to explain why Russia was denied the right of consular access to the two Russian citizens

MOSCOW, March 31. /TASS/. Russia’s embassy to London sent a note to the UK Foreign Office on Saturday, listing 14 questions over the so-called Skripal poisoning case, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said.

"On March 31, the Embassy of the Russian Federation to London sent a note to the United Kingdom’s Foreign Office. It contains a list of questions about the ‘Skripals case’ fabricated against Russia," says the Russian Foreign Ministry’s statement.

Firstly, the Russian Foreign Ministry asked to explain why Russia was denied the right of consular access to the two Russian citizens who came to harm in the United Kingdom and bring to light which antidote had been used for their medical treatment and how such medicines were placed at local medics’ disposal.

Secondly, Moscow demands the Foreign Office reveal what helped the UK identify the alleged "Russian origin" of the nerve agent used for poisoning former Russian military intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia. Thirdly, Moscow wonders whether London possesses control samples of the military-grade nerve agent branded as Novichok so that analysis will be carried out to establish whether it was genuinely used.

Moreover, Russia asks a natural question whether samples of the military-grade nerve agent, which the UK refers to as Novichok, or its equivalents have ever been developed in the UK since British apparently have an antidote and they allegedly managed to identify the type of toxic chemical. A sample of that substance should have been needed for comparison.


France’s participation

The note includes a question about France’s involvement in the investigation.

"On what grounds was France involved in technical cooperation in the investigation of the incident, in which Russian citizens were injured?" says a question listed in the document.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry wonders whether the United Kingdom notified the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) about France’s joining the investigation and whether results of the French probe have been submitted to the OPCW Technical Secretariat.

Besides, Russia demands answers what France has to do with the incident involving the two Russian citizens in the UK and what rules of UK procedural legislation allow engaging a foreign state in a national inquiry.

Moscow requested information about what evidence London had handed to Paris to be studied and for the probe to be carried out; whether the UK had the materials of the French inquiries as well as whether French experts were present during the sampling of biomaterial from Sergei and Yulia Skripal and, finally, whether the study of biomaterials from Sergei and Yulia Skripal was conducted by the French experts and, if so, in which specific laboratories.


Skripal poisoning case

On March 4, former Russian military intelligence officer Sergei Skripal, who was earlier sentenced in Russia for spying for the UK, and his daughter Yulia were found unconscious on a bench near the Maltings shopping center in Salisbury, UK. Police said they had been exposed to a nerve agent.

Later, London claimed that the toxin of Novichok-class had been allegedly developed in Russia. With that, the UK rushed to accuse Russia of being involved, while failing to produce any evidence. Moscow refuted the accusations that it had participated in the incident and points out that neither the Soviet Union nor Russia have ever done research into that toxic chemical.

Without providing any proof, London expelled 23 Russian diplomats and suspended all planned high-level bilateral contacts. In response, Moscow expelled the equal number of UK diplomats. In addition, Britain’s consulate in St. Petersburg was ordered to be closed and the British Council’s operations in Russia were terminated.