ANKARA, April 3. /TASS/. The United Kingdom’s accusations against Russia on the so-called Skripal case coming up against powerful evidence that counters those claims, Russian president’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov said on Tuesday.
"The situation was abominable from the very beginning. And now evidence has surfaced that these insane accusations voiced by the British side just a few hours after the incident are based on nothing. The evidence from experts, which is entirely official, serves an eloquent validation," he told journalists commenting on Sky News recent reports on the Salisbury incident.
"More of this direct or indirect evidence about the absurdity of the British side’s position will inevitably surface," Peskov stressed. "Now the question is what the British side used as grounds [for hurling accusation against Russia]. The British side must answer."
He recalled that this matter would be discussed at a session of the Organizations for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) convened at Russia’s initiative.
Sky News reported on Tuesday, citing Chief Executive of the Defense Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) at Porton Down Gary Aitkenhead as saying that experts from the UK’s Porton Down chemical weapons research center had been unable to identify the origin of the nerve agent used to poison former Russian military intelligence (GRU) Colonel Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia. "We were able to identify it as novichok, to identify that it was a military-grade nerve agent," he said. "We have not verified the precise source, but we provided the scientific information to the government who have then used a number of other sources to piece together the conclusions."
He also pointed out that "it is our job to provide the scientific evidence that identifies what the particular nerve agent is, we identified that it was from this family and that it is a military-grade nerve agent, but it is not our job to say where it was manufactured."
On March 4, former Russian military intelligence officer Sergei Skripal, who had been 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 so-called Novichok toxin 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 pointed 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 closed and the British Council’s operations in Russia were terminated.
In late March, a number of states, including the United States, Canada, Australia, France, Germany, and a number of other European countries, expelled more than 150 Russian diplomats in all in a show of solidarity with London’s stance. Last week, the Russian foreign ministry announced tit-for-tat measure against these countries.