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London snubs international law by restricting Skripals’ freedom — Russian embassy

"The Skripals are kept out of the public’s eye, at an unknown location, they are deprived of the right to freely communicate with their relatives," the embassy said

LONDON, February 6. /TASS/. London keeps ignoring the international laws in a demonstrative manner by restricting the freedom of Sergei and Yulia Skripal and denying consular access to them, the Russian embassy in London has said in a statement.

"The Russian government has the legitimate right to communicate with its citizens in line with article 36 of the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and article 36 of the 1965 bilateral consular convention. The forced restriction of freedom, to which the Skripals were subjected, raises serious questions from the point of view of the international law, whose norms London keeps ignoring in a demonstrative manner. If the Skripals are indeed reluctant to communicate with Russian representatives, it is important that we learn about it from them in person, not from statements, which were most likely written as told by special services," the embassy said.

The diplomats added that almost one year after the incident, the Russian embassy, just like the general public in the United Kingdom and Russia, have not been given a clear answer on what had really happened in Salisbury.

The embassy stressed that throughout this period, Russian citizens "remain in isolation in full control of UK special services," and it is of utmost importance for the Russian embassy to learn that their health is good and that they are not under pressure from the UK authorities.

"The Skripals are kept out of the public’s eye, at an unknown location, they are deprived of the right to freely communicate with their relatives, including Sergei Skripal’s mother, with their friends, journalists and official representatives of Russia. They cannot move freely. By the way, Sergei and Yulia’s relative, Victoria, has recently mentioned this," the Russian embassy said.

Skripal saga

According to London, former Russian military intelligence (GRU) Colonel Sergei Skripal, 66, who had been convicted in Russia of spying for Great Britain and later swapped for Russian intelligence officers, and his daughter Yulia, 33, suffered the effects of an alleged nerve agent in the British city of Salisbury on March 4, 2018. Claiming that the substance used in the attack had been a Novichok-class nerve agent developed in the Soviet Union, London rushed to accuse Russia of being involved in the incident. Moscow rejected all of the United Kingdom’s accusations, saying that neither the Soviet Union nor Russia ever had any program aimed at developing such a substance.

On March 16, 2018, the Russian Investigative Committee has launched a criminal case into the attempted murder of Yulia Skripal.