14 Mar 2018 18:04

UK acting out political drama using Skripal case - Lavrov

MOSCOW. March 14 (Interfax) - The United Kingdom is acting out a political drama using "the case of the poisoning of former GRU colonel Sergei Skripal," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

"Instead of making an inquiry [under the Convention for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons], the UK continues acting out a political drama," Lavrov said at a briefing in Moscow on Wednesday following talks with his Turkish counterpart.

Moscow is not refusing to answer an inquiry from London, he said. "When an official inquiry is received, we will respond in accordance with the regulations and our obligations under the Convention for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which will meet the requirements of this international document, within ten days," the minister said, adding that no inquiries have been received.

He also said an official address by Theresa May to the UN secretary-general, alleging that the chemical was produced in the Soviet Union and then became the property of the Russian Federation, had been received and published in New York on Tuesday.

"It does not say how this all agrees with the fact of the full completion of the destruction by our country of chemical weapons, which was registered by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in the presence of U.S. observers, among others," Lavrov said.

"It is stated that no one except for Russia could have brought this toxic substance to the UK and no one except for Russia has grounds for choosing these persons as victims [...]I leave that without comment," the minister said.

"Both our and the West's media presented multiple arguments that Russia could not have had any motives, while those who would like to continue the Russophobic campaign in absolutely all spheres of human activity without exception could have had them and probably did have them," Lavrov said.

He spoke about the part of the letter written by British Prime Minister Theresa May stating that the UK's suspicions have a high probability of being correct.

"You know, for respectable people who call for respect for international law while at the same time refusing to observe their obligations under the Convention for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and only say that the actions taken by them make it possible to judge about the highly likely involvement of a specific party or specific persons in specific actions, it is not very respectable and not very serious," Lavrov said.

Such formulations about the probability of specific events "were very frequently used in the report on the well-known chemical weapons incident in Khan Shaykhun, which was investigated remotely, including by laboratories located in the UK, he said.

Theresa May said on March 12 that Russia was most likely involved in the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter.