Embassy comment on the third anniversary of the Salisbury incident

Three years have now passed since the highly publicized incident in Salisbury. So far we have learnt little on what really happened. The British authorities laid the blame on Russia for an alleged use of chemical weapons on the British soil. Such a serious accusation however was not backed by any facts, proof or other sort of relevant information. Being ungrounded, it cannot be considered credible.

The UK has refused to make use of the existing bilateral legal framework let alone reveal the factual background of the case as well as investigation findings. This “highly likely” indicates the weakness of the British official narrative on what happened in Salisbury.

The Embassy has not yet received any clear official information on the whereabouts and health condition of Sergei and Yulia Skripal. Just like the public, we have only seen “information leaks” in the media asserting that these people “are alive and in a safe place”. It is of common knowledge that failure to provide information on the two Russian nationals is a clear violation of the UK’s obligations implied in relevant international and bilateral agreements. We also consider it a disregard for universally recognized norms of diplomatic relations. Our request to provide comprehensive information on the case as well as consular access to Sergei and Yulia Skripal remains in effect.

Evidently, the UK government’s approach is politics-driven. Groundless accusations of Russia have become ordinary and generally accepted within political establishment. It all appears to be an ill-intended policy aimed at poisoning bilateral relations. Buzz and numerous speculations infused into the media – all labeled “the Salisbury incident” - seem to be intended to substitute for the lacking British official stance. We also see the chain of associations from “Novichok” to “chemical weapons” and “sanctions” being propagated in a similar way and for a similar purpose in the context of the so-called “Navalny case”.

The media reports on plans to conduct a coroner’s inquest into the death of Dawn Sturgess in Amesbury suggest that the British authorities are about to reconstruct the “Litvinenko case” scenario by substituting open proceedings with quasi-judicial procedures, the outcome of which will be used for further pressure on Russia. This would not benefit the Russian-British relations or both states’ nationals.

4 March 2021; 10:15