19 Apr 2018 10:45

Russia insists on access to Skripals, Russian investigators' participation - Russian envoy to OPCW

THE HAGUE. April 19 (Interfax) - Russia insists that it be granted access to former Russian Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, who were poisoned in Salisbury in early March, as well as access to the materials of the United Kingdom's inquiry into the incident, Alexander Shulgin, Russia's permanent representative to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), said.

"Probably, the time has come for us and the Brits to agree on launching a full-fledged investigation," Shulgin said on Wednesday after a special meeting of the OPCW Executive Council.

Today "there are no illusions" with regard to London's readiness to cooperate, he said.

"We, the Russian Federation, will not accept any results of either national or international investigations without familiarizing ourselves with the full body of information, including access to the materials of the UK investigation, without consular access to our affected citizens, and, most importantly, without Russian experts' mandatory participation - this is an essential condition - in all of the actions aimed at establishing the truth and shedding light on what happened in Salisbury," Shulgin said.

"So far, we have every reason to believe that we are dealing with a gross provocation against the Russian Federation on the part of the UK's special services," he said.

"And if the British side continues refusing to cooperate with us, this will only serve to confirm our conviction that this is indeed the case," Shulgin said.