Embassy comment on new statements by the UK authorities on the Salisbury incident

Statements made today by the UK authorities on “identifying” the perpetrators of the poisoning of Sergey and Yulia Skripal prompt the Embassy to state the following.

Since the very beginning, the Russian side has offered the UK to cooperate in the investigation on the 4 March Salisbury incident. We suggested to launch a joint investigation, we submitted a request for legal assistance in the framework of the criminal case opened in Russia, and we expressed our willingness to cooperate under established OPCW procedures. These offers remain on the table.

Unfortunately, until now we have not seen any willingness on the British side to engage with a view to establishing the truth. As the UK rightfully notes, the Russian Constitution prohibits extraditing Russian citizens to foreign states. Yet existing mechanisms of international cooperation on criminal cases are not limited to extradition. Being well aware of this, the British side has chosen to publish names and photos of the “suspects”, but has not provided us with any official request for assistance or any additional information (passport numbers, details of visa applications etc.). As before, we have no access to the case file. No further information was given during today’s meeting at the Foreign Office, where the Chargé d'affaires a.i., Ivan Volodin, was summoned to.

We reiterate our call upon the UK authorities to give up politicised public accusations and the policy of classifying evidence, to return to the legal framework and to engage properly with the Russian side. We will also continue to demand that the UK delivers on its obligations under the Consular Conventions by allowing access of Russian representatives to Sergei and Yulia Skripal, whose situation over the last six months amounts to forcible isolation by the British authorities.