27 Sep 2018 10:44

London denies legal assistance to Moscow in probing Skripal case - embassy

MOSCOW. Sept 27 (Interfax) - The Russian embassy in London has received a reply from the British Home Office that declined the request of the Russian Prosecutor General's Office for legal assistance to the Russian probe into the attempt on the lives of Sergei and Yulia Skripal made in Salisbury.

"In refusing cooperation, the UK is referring to Article 2(b) of the 1959 European Convention on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters. According to that article, assistance may be refused if the requested Party considers that execution of the request is likely to prejudice the sovereignty, security, ordre public or other essential interests of its country. The Home Office letter specifies that the decision was taken at the highest political level," the embassy said in a statement posted on its website.

"In practice, this means that the UK is refusing to provide the Russian investigation with any information or evidence gathered by British Police when working on the Salisbury incident. [...] Such position of the British authorities does not allow to bring the investigation to its logical end in either the Russian or the British legal framework," it said.

"Thus, the British side has confirmed that from the very beginning the aims of its campaign around the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal lay exclusively in the field of politics and propaganda," the embassy said.

"The refusal to fulfill the request of the Office of the Prosecutor General amounts to another violation by the UK of its obligations under international law," the embassy concluded.