Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning possible reputational costs to the UK and the US following the Salisbury incident
Question: How would you comment on the claims that the refusal of the British authorities to cooperate with Russia on the investigation of the Salisbury incident might damage the UK international reputation?
Answer: The Embassy is still concerned about the lack of information regarding condition and whereabouts of Sergei and Yulia Skripal. Unfortunately, the British authorities continue to refuse us consular access to them. The UK government ignores numerous relevant requests for legal assistance sent by the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation to the Home Office. This is a clear breach of UK international obligations.
Meanwhile, politicians in the US continue to participate in this blatant anti-Russian provocation by coming up with more sanctions, which they are now rationalizing by citing the Salisbury incident. Russia considers these decisions, taken without any proof, to be biased and politically motivated.
The UK government continues to exercise political pressure on the British law enforcement agencies conducting the investigation into the Salisbury and Amesbury incidents. Long before the completion of the investigation, the UK authorities have named Russia as the guilty side. Following the announcement of the new US sanctions, such pressure further increased.
As the Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova has stated, if the UK and the US authorities do not drop the false charges against Russia in the near future, their conduct will surely backfire, leading to much greater reputational costs than they have suffered after the Iraqi shady enterprise, which was not supported by any real facts at all.