Russia wants results of OPCW probe on Skripal poisoning made public – envoy to UK

Russia wants results of OPCW probe on Skripal poisoning made public – envoy to UK
After a failed OPCW vote on transparency, it is up to the UK to make public all material relevant to the investigation of the Salisbury poisoning affair, the Russian ambassador said. Russia strongly urges the British to do so.

Russian Ambassador to the UK Alexander Yakovenko called for the investigation into the case of Sergei Skripal to be made as transparent as possible after the governing body of the Organization for the Prohibition of the Chemical Weapons (OPCW) voted against a Russian-Chinese proposal. The initiative called for the full cooperation of both the UK and Russia in the ongoing probe and have the results presented to the whole world.

The vote was 15 to 6 against the initiative. The Russian ambassador pointed out that the UK’s opposition to the proposal was backed mostly by members of the EU and NATO. But 17 other nations abstained from the vote, rejecting, according to Yakovenko, the incredible “pressure” put on them by London and its camp, distancing themselves from the accusations against Russia.

The votes for the proposal and those who abstained constituted all representatives from Latin America and Africa and the majority of the representatives from Asia at the table.

The ambassador noted that it is now up to the UK to make the probe as transparent as possible, adding that this approach to the inquiry is favored by Moscow. There are concerns in Moscow that London would instead classify most of the materials in the case, as has happened with other high-profile Russia-related crimes committed on British soil.

Moscow is prepared to take on good faith whatever results the OPCW chooses to subscribe to, as long as the organization’s probe into the Salisbury poisoning has comprehensive international representation. The OPCW’s recent investigation in Syria left much to desire, Yakovenko said, and the fact that that probe was dominated by British experts is a matter of concern for Russia in the current situation.

He also remarked on the suspicions voiced by several Russian officials that the UK government may be involved in the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter. He reiterated that Moscow has no evidence for this, but Britain’s refusal to cooperate with Russia and the campaign it launched to blame Moscow for the crime left Russia wondering about London’s motives. Too many Russians have died on British soil recently, he said, with the government classifying their cases afterwards.

Yakovenko was challenged by a journalist about his demeanor during the media conference, with the accusation that it seemed like Russia is not taking the matter seriously. The ambassador said that his personal style should not be read as something it is not, and that if his embassy allows itself a bit of humor in the current situation, that was because some of the statements coming from the UK were difficult to take with a straight face. “Sorry about that,” he said, using his favorite catchphrase.

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