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May adviser’s letter contains no proof of Russia’s complicity in Skripal case — embassy

According to the commentary, "the case is based on the identification of the chemical agent, far-fetched speculations, as well as unverifiable intelligence"

LONDON, April 14. /TASS/. The letter that British Prime Minister Theresa May’s national security adviser Mark Sedwill has sent to NATO’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg indicates there is no proof to back up the charges of Russia’s involvement in the poisoning of former GRU Colonel Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, the Russian embassy in London said in a commentary obtained by TASS on Friday evening.

The embassy believes that Sedwill’s letter published on April 13 is "yet another confirmation there exists no proof of Russia’s alleged involvement in the Salisbury incident."

According to the embassy’s maycommentary, "the case against Russia is based on three elements: the identification of the chemical agent, far-fetched speculations and conclusions regarding the ‘operational experience’ and ‘motive’, as well as unverifiable ‘intelligence.’

"As far as the chemical agent [that was allegedly used to poison Skriplas] is concerned, it is common knowledge that any modern chemical laboratory is capable of making it. The OPCW report produced nothing new in this respect," the commentary runs. Sedwill’s speculations about the ‘motive’ and ‘operational experience’ merely repeat well-known charges.

"As for ‘intelligence’, it should be remembered that the United Kingdom has a vast record of misleading the government and the public, which entailed catastrophic consequences," the embassy said.

The very instance such a letter was dispatched on Friday signifies that Britain earlier failed to provide to its NATO allies "even this insignificant amount of information", the embassy said, so it was only natural many of them began to doubt if there had been enough reasons for "their hasty decision to expel Russian diplomats out of wrongly understood solidarity."

The British news agency Press Association on Friday quoted Sedwill’s letter to Stoltenberg as saying Skripal might have been spied on in London. Russia’s ambassador to Britain Aleksandr Yakovenko expressed surprise and asked two questions: what the reasons for spying on Skripal in London after his release in Moscow were and why British special services had never complained Skripal was under surveillance.

Reaction to Salisbury incident

Sergei Skripal on March 4, convicted in Russia of spying for Britain, and his daughter Yulia, were reportedly affected by a nerve agent in Salisbury. London claimed that the agent had been developed in Russia and, without presenting any evidence, accused Moscow of complicity in the incident and expelled 23 Russian diplomats.

Moscow strongly dismissed these charges, saying that neither the Soviet Union nor Russia had ever had programs for research into this substance. In a diplomatic row that followed a number of Western countries "in a gesture of solidarity" with Britain expelled Russian diplomats. Russia retaliated proportionately.