Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning new media leaks concerning the Salisbury incident

Question: How would you comment on the new claims by the British media that the police and secret services have identified a third Russian national allegedly involved into the Salisbury incident?

Answer: Unfortunately, we witness yet another turn of a powerful media campaign launched by the Tory government in March aimed at discrediting and isolating Russia on the international arena. The whole situation around the Skripals’ case reminds of an endless soap opera as the media are repeatedly referring to anonymous sources in the British security and secret services and publishing multiple unverifiable versions and leaks on a daily basis.

At the same time, the British authorities have categorically refused to cooperate with Russia, refrained from providing or requesting information via official channels, thus violating at least five different international Conventions, while tirelessly classifying all circumstances of Sergei and Yulia Skripal poisoning. Nobody has seen the Skripals, who are Russian nationals, for a long time. Their condition and whereabouts are unknown. Toxicity of the poison used in Salisbury is also impossible to verify.

We struggle to understand why the British authorities continue to act in such a manner, and cannot find any plausible explanation except that that the whole situation with the Skripals’ case has been a staged provocation from the very beginning. The information that the government feeds through the media raises many questions. It is aimed at diverting public attention from the real problems in the UK caused by the uncertainty around Brexit. Such policy distracts the investigation away from the truth and ignites anti-Russian sentiments, pushed forward again and again at the highest political level. The most recent examples are the statements made in New York by the Prime Minister, and then by Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt following his “meeting” with Sergei Lavrov, which in reality has never taken place. Moreover, the Tory government tries to impose on all its own vision of the incident through the media, while refusing to officially engage with Russia. Such approach is unacceptable; it contradicts the rules of international engagement.

As such behaviour of the British authorities, coupled with their infamous record of unleashing wars in Iraq and Libya, conducting air strikes in Syria in defiance of international law, continues, the public trust further erodes. Such situation could have been avoided, had Britain followed its international obligations.