The UK appears to be pursuing a policy of “destroying evidence” in the case of the poisoning of former double agent Sergei Skripal, the Russian envoy to the UK said during a press conference on Friday.
"We get the impression that the British government is deliberately pursuing the policy of destroying all possible evidence, classifying all remaining materials and making a transparent investigation impossible," Alexander Yakovenko said.
The accusation came from Yakovenko, as he was updating the media on the developments in the Salisbury poisoning case. He reiterated Russia’s dismay over the British government’s refusal to allow Russian diplomats access to Skripal and his daughter Yulia, who was also poisoned, saying that from Moscow’s point of view, the two Russian nationals appear to have been abducted by the British authorities.
The ambassador said London’s approach to the high-profile case followed a pattern of crimes, in which the UK chose to classify details from the public and ignore Russia’s request to disclose them.
The latest such case is the death of Russian businessman Nikolay Glushkov on March 12, after the apparent attack on the Skripals, Yakovenko said.
He confirmed Russia’s receipt on Thursday of a classified report from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which the organization sent after confirming Britain’s identification of a toxic agent used in the poisoning. Yakovenko said Moscow is studying it carefully and will make its opinion public when ready. He stressed that Russia’s criticism of the way the UK chose to engaged the OPCW in the case did not amount to doubting the merits of the report.
The Russian diplomat also commented on the situation in Syria and Britain’s possible military action there. He advised the UK against taking rash steps in Syria based on a fabricated chemical weapons attack last Saturday, saying it would be similar to the misguided intervention in Iraq in 2003.
He briefed journalists on the latest development in Douma, a town in the suburbs of Damascus, where the alleged attack took place and where Russian military police has been deployed on Thursday. He suggested that the media compared the situation in Douma, which is relatively undamaged after its capture by the Syrian government forces, to that in the city of Raqqa, which was practically obliterated by the US-led coalition and its allies on the ground last year, when they took the city from the jihadist group of Islamic State.
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