Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry publishes questions about handling of Skripal case

  1. Russia states that it has not used chemical weapons against the UK
  2. Medical treatment of Skripals questioned
  3. Says Russia does not use 'language of ultimatums'

The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs published a text summarizing its version of the incident in which former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found seriously ill in the English town of Salisbury. 

The nerve agent attack on March 4 has since sparked an international crisis. On March 26, U.S. President Donald J. Trump ordered the expulsion of 60 Russian diplomats as 14 European Union (EU) countries followed suit, along with Canada and Ukraine. They were joined over the next 24 hours by Australia, Norway, and several other non-EU countries. Moscow has since warned Western countries it will respond.

The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs aide-memoire document, published in its website on March 21, denies any involvement by the Russian Federation in the Skripal incident and accuses the United Kingdom of politicizing the issue and “playing dirty.” It describes part of the British response as “simply barbaric” and criticizes a lack of access to information about Yulia Skripal, a Russian citizen who fell ill at the same time as her father, Sergei.

It ends with a statement that Russia “will never speak the language of ultimatums or answer informal and word-of-mouth questions”.

Among other things, the aide-memoire raises the following questions:

“Where, how, and by whom were the samples collected from Sergei and Yulia Skripal? How was it all documented? Who can certify that the data is credible? Was the chain of custody up to all the OPCW [Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons] requirements when evidence was collected?

Which methods (spectral analysis and others) were used by the British side to identify, within such a remarkably short period of time, the type of the substance used (“Novichok” according to the western classification)? As far as we know, to do that, they must have had a standard sample of such agent at their disposal.

And how do these hasty actions correlate with Scotland Yard’s official statements that “the investigation is highly likely to take weeks or even months” to arrive at conclusions?

What information and medical effects led to a hasty decision to administer antidotes to the aggrieved Skripals and the British policeman? Could that hastiness lead to grave complications and further deterioration of their health status?

Which antidotes exactly were administered? What tests had been conducted to make the decision to use these drugs?

How can the delayed action of the nerve agent be explained, given that it is a fast-acting substance by nature? The victims were allegedly poisoned in a pizzeria (in a car, at the airport, at home, according to other accounts). So what really happened? How come they were found in some unidentified time on a bench in the street?

We need an explanation why it is Russia who was accused on the ‘Skripal case’ without any grounds whatsoever, while works to develop the agent codenamed ‘Novichok’ in the West had been carried out by the United Kingdom, the USA, Sweden and the Czech Republic. There are more than 200 open sources publications in the NATO countries, highlighting the results that those countries achieved in the development of new toxic agents of this type.”

For now there does not seem to be a quick solution to the growing tension in diplomatic relations.

What else do we need to know or add to this story?


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