3 May 2018 10:20

Russia urges UK to cooperate in Investigative Committee's probe into Skripals' attempted murder - Lavrov

MOSCOW. May 3 (Interfax) - Moscow is ready for substantive cooperation with London in the probe into the Skripal case launched by the Russian Investigative Committee, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told the Italian magazine Panorama in an interview.

"Yet again we are ready for substantive interaction with the UK. We are urging London to cooperate with due diligence in the criminal inquiry into the attempted murder, which the Russian Investigative Committee launched on March 16, and respond to the requests made by the Russian Prosecutor General's Office," Lavrov said.

Since the day of the incident, the UK "has been refusing to inform us about the assistance given to the victims and progress made in the investigation and has been denying consular access, which is mandatory whenever Russian citizens are involved, in violation of its international obligations," Lavrov said.

"London has neglected norms not only of international law but also of elementary ethics and common sense. Without giving any proof, waiting until the end of the inquiry conducted by the UK's Scotland Yard, and clarifying what has actually happened, the British government has brought accusations against Russia and unleashed a massive anti-Russian political and information campaign," he said.

"Our offers of a joint inquiry and lawful demands that facts, including samples of the used substance, be provided have been ignored," Lavrov said.

"The conduct of the British authorities leads to numerous questions," he said.

"For instance, there is no information about the activity of the secret laboratory situated in Porton Down near Salisbury. The British security services are hiding the victims," Lavrov said.

"Russia is concerned above all about the health and position of the Skripals who have been drawn into this provocation by the British," he said.

"The fact that the British authorities are denying consular access gives grounds to view the ongoing events as an abduction or intentional isolation. This is absolutely inadmissible," Lavrov said.

"London has been substituting professional activities of experts in relevant international mechanisms with idle statements and 'megaphone' diplomacy," he said.