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Russian envoy vested with power to answer letter from Amesbury victim’s son sent to Putin

The spokesman for the Russian president said that the leader does not have to respond to this letter, since Alexander Yakovenko has all the necessary powers to speak on behalf of the country
Russian ambassador Alexander Yakovenko  AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth
Russian ambassador Alexander Yakovenko
© AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth

MOSCOW, March 11. /TASS/. Russian Ambassador to the United Kingdom Alexander Yakovenko had the authority to reply to a letter Amesbury poisoning victim Dawn Sturgess’ son had sent to Russian President Vladimir Putin, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

"Our diplomatic mission in Great Britain earlier informed Mr. Hope [the son of Dawn Sturgess who died in the Amesbury incident - TASS] - and you heard its statement on the matter - of our readiness to provide all necessary explanations that stems from the fact that from the very beginning, Russia has been calling for full cooperation that would make it possible to shed some light on the incident," Peskov said. He pointed out that "British authorities did not reciprocate to that initiative." "Perhaps, this is the main thing Mr. Hope should know," the Russian presidential spokesman emphasized.

When asked whether Putin would respond to Hope’s letter, Peskov said that "it is not necessary." "The matter is that Russian ambassadors are appointed by the president, an ambassador is an official who has the authority to speak on behalf of the Russian Federation," he added.

The Russian embassy in London said on March 6 that Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko "sent Mr. Hope a reply, in which he has expressed his condolences on the tragic death of Ms. Sturgess and proposed a meeting to answer in person to any questions that Mr. Hope might have." "The letter was accompanied by the report ‘Salisbury: Unanswered Questions’ on the key elements of the events one year ago, published by the Embassy on March 3, 2019," the embassy noted.

Ewan Hope, 20, said earlier in an interview with the Sunday Mirror that he had sent a letter to Vladimir Putin "pleading for justice a year after his mum died in the Salisbury novichok attack." "British police believe at least two Russian citizens were responsible for her death but it appears they are being protected by your state. I am appealing to you as a human being to allow our officers to question these men about my mother’s murder," the letter reads. At the same time, Hope accused the British government "of offering no support" to the family of Dawn Sturgess, the newspaper added.

British poisonings

According to London, former Russian military intelligence (GRU) Colonel Sergei Skripal, who had been convicted in Russia of spying for Great Britain and later swapped for Russian intelligence officers, and his daughter Yulia 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. Chief Executive of the Defense Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) at Porton Down Gary Aitkenhead said later that British experts had been unable to identify the origin of the nerve agent used in the attack on the Skripals.

On June 30, 2018, 44-year-old Dawn Sturgess and 45-year-old Charles Rowley were hospitalized in critical condition in the British town of Amesbury. The Metropolitan Police claimed the two had been exposed to Novichok. Sturgess died on July 8, while Rowley was discharged from the hospital on July 20.

On September 5, 2018, British Prime Minister Theresa May told the country’s parliament about the conclusions that investigators looking into the Salisbury incident had come to, saying that two Russians, believed to be GRU agents, were suspected of conspiracy to murder the Skripals. The Metropolitan Police published the suspects’ photos, saying their names were Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov.