14 марта / 2018

On the case of Sergey Skripal

The March 14 statement made by British Prime Minister Theresa May in Parliament on measures to “punish” Russia, under the false pretext of its alleged involvement in so-called “highly likely” style in the poisoning of Sergey Skripal and his daughter, constitutes an unprecedented, flagrant provocation that undermines the foundations of normal dialogue between our countries.

Instead of completing its own investigation and using established international formats and instruments, the British Government opted for confrontation with Russia. Obviously, by investigating this incident in a unilateral, non-transparent way, the British Government is again seeking to launch a groundless anti-Russian campaign.

During the briefing of March 15, 2018, the Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson M.Zakharova said that Russia accepts the entire incoming information on the use of chemical weapons in the UK with much concern. In Russia’s opinion, such inadequate accusations could be settled within the framework of Paragraph 2 of Article IX “Consultations, Cooperation and Fact-Finding” of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and Their Destruction (CWC) of 1993, what envisages filing the official request of the UK government to the Russian Federation or the Executive Council to receive the explanations about any doubtful issues. After Great Britain files its request, the Russian side would have 10 days under the CWC to respond. Moreover, in accordance with the procedures set forth in the convention, should Britain be unsatisfied with the reply, the same convention gives it the right to convene an extraordinary session of the Executive Council of the Organisation for the Prohibition of the Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to take the relevant decision. The CWC, which the UK has signed and ratified, stipulates a series of such steps. If the British side does not want to use these mechanisms, the 1959 European Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters would be another option.

On March 15 the OPCW Director General A. Uzumcu received a letter fr om the UK Prime minister Teresa May wh ere she proposed to “conduct independent examination of the British investigation results”. A. Uzumcu informed Great Britain that his organisation was ready to send the expert group to provide assistance if the UK conducted “some internal procedures”. We hope that it implies the declassification of the Scotland Yard records.

At the meeting in New York on March 18, 2018, Russia’s Permanent Representative to the UN Vasily Nebenzya put forth our position, replying politely and in a well-argued manner to totally impolite and unsubstantiated allegations. He proposed adopting a document on the investigation of this accident based on the above mentioned Convention. The British representative blocked the adoption of this proposal.

The actions of the UK authorities are a clear provocation. The Russian Federation was not involved in the incident that took place in Salisbury on March 4, 2018. Moscow will expect to receive samples of the chemical substance to which the UK investigators are referring and until the UK demonstrates compliance with the CWC that stipulates a joint investigation into the incident, for which Moscow is ready. Without that, there can be no sense in any statements from London. The incident appears to be yet another crooked attempt by the UK authorities to discredit Russia on the eve of the Presidential election and 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

Embassy of Russia in Botswana