Embassy Statement on the situation with the Russian citizens Sergei and Yulia Skripal

Today marks exactly six months since the Russian citizens Sergei and Yulia Skripal were taken to Salisbury District Hospital under obscure circumstances. Ever since, they have been kept in isolation and under full control of British authorities. They remain out of the public eye at an unknown location, unable to communicate freely with their relatives, friends, journalists or Russian officials, deprived of the freedom of movement. The British authorities have been continuously refusing the Embassy to establish direct contact with the Skripals in order to verify their actual health situation, the conditions in which they are held and, most importantly, to ascertain to which extent their isolation is voluntary.

Thus, the United Kingdom continues to blatantly violate Russia’s lawful right to communicate with its citizens in accordance with Article 36 of the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and Article 36 of the 1965 bilateral Consular Convention. Moreover, the de-facto deprivation of liberty of the Skripals is highly questionable from the point of view of observance of their rights confirmed in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 1950 Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

Days after the incident Russia, offered every kind of assistance to the United Kingdom. We suggested to launch a joint investigation of the incident, 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.

Over these months, the Embassy has sent more than 70 Notes Verbales and letters to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Home Office and the Police. We regularly raise the Skripals case during our meetings with FCO officials. We have put dozens of questions concerning the whereabouts of the Russian citizens, symptoms of their poisoning, methods of medical treatment, conduct of the police investigation. We asked to provide samples of the biomaterials and the chemical agent allegedly used, and to present the evidence which could help to establish the truth.

Nearly all of our questions, suggestions and queries have been ignored. Such attitude by the British authorities contradicts every principle of civilized relations between states and amounts to a blatant violation of basic diplomatic courtesy.

As before, Russia intends to vigorously pursue the efforts on establishing the truth on what happened in Salisbury and to demand that the British authorities present all information on the incident, provide access to the Russian citizens and launch a genuinely transparent investigation in cooperation with Russian experts.