NEW YORK, March 31. /TASS/. Moscow is ready to cooperate with Washington and London in the investigation of the poisoning of ex-GRU Colonel Sergei Skripal. This was stated by Russia’s Ambassador to the U.S. Anatoly Antonov in an interview to NBC. It was published on Friday, fully in the channel of the Russian Embassy in the US on Youtube.
“We offered – let’s meet and, under the provisions of the Convention [on the prohibition of chemical weapons], we will cooperate,” stated the diplomat. As he explained, the idea is to “try to figure out what happened and decide what we should do together to prevent the recurrence of such incidents.”
Antonov said that regarding the incident in Salisbury there are still many questions. “I don’t want to blame. What I would like is to cooperate with the Americans, with experts the United Kingdom in accordance with the provisions of the Convention on the prohibition of chemical weapons,” – said the diplomat.
“By the way, the US and the UK ratified this Convention. This means that they should obey. That’s all I want,” – said Antonov. He recalled that the British side has not provided any evidence of Moscow’s involvement in the incident.
Case Skipala – an occasion for hard, inadequate actions of the USA against Russian diplomats, said Antonov.
“To date we have not received any clear explanations of the reasons for expulsion from U.S. to Russian diplomats, he said. As you know, the official explanation closed our Consulate General in Seattle is that our diplomats are said to be able to obtain information on the activities of the naval base of the United States. I have a simple question: what does the case Skrobala? Itself begs the answer: it Skrobala, in fact, is the only reason for the surge of Russophobia, in order that Americans have taken a hard, inappropriate, provocative steps against Russian diplomats and the Russian diplomatic property.”
“With regard to the case Skrobala, to date we have not received any information from our American partners, on what basis they came to conclusion that the Russian Federation or the representatives of Russia were involved in illegal activity in the UK, – continued the head of the Russian diplomatic mission. – All we hear these words: “We believe, we think we’re sure.” And when I ask a question and you can give me at least one fact, is the concrete fact that Russia is responsible for the tragedy in London, the answer is no”.
“I even asked my American colleagues a question: if you are in the court will accuse some man, say, of murder, and if the Prosecutor will say: “apparently, I believe that this man killed, he is guilty”, will this be enough for the judge to send the accused to death. My response to the American colleagues from various circles including politicians, journalists, politicians – just smile,” – said Antonov.
On March 4, former GRU Colonel Sergei Skripal, sentenced in Russia for espionage in favour of great Britain, and his daughter Julia were in Salisbury, according to the British side, effects of nerve agents. Later London made a statement that this substance was supposedly developed in Russia, and on this basis accused Moscow of involvement in the incident. The Russian side has categorically denied all the speculation, arguing that programmes such substances neither in the USSR nor in Russia did not exist. Without presenting any evidence, London deported 23 of a Russian diplomat and expressed other anti-Russian measures, after which Moscow retaliated by sending, in particular, the same number of employees of the British Embassy.
Showing solidarity with the position of London, Washington, reported on 26 March about the decision to expel from the country during the week, 60 Russian diplomats and close on April 2, the Consulate General of Russia in Seattle. In addition to the United States, 25 European countries, Canada and Australia also decided to send a number of employees of diplomatic missions of the Russian Federation (a total of 63 people). The Russian foreign Ministry announced on Thursday and Friday about the mirror measures relating to the diplomatic missions of all of these States.