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Debunking myths 2 months after Salisbury

Russian Embassy in Cambodia / No Comments Share:
Yulia Skripal. Reuters

On May 4, the Embassy of the Russian Federation to the UK of Great Britain and Northern Ireland issued this statement regarding the Salisbury Incident:

Today marks two months since the two Russian nationals, Sergei and Yulia Skripal, were hospitalised in Salisbury over what was announced to be a nerve agent poisoning. Although Russia was quickly accused of that crime, with serious international repercussions, no evidence of Russian involvement has been presented to the public.

What we can say after two months is that the British case against Russia has been built on two myths, both of which have been totally dismantled.

Myth No.l was that the chemical agent that the British call “Novichok” had originated in Russia. Yet both the Porton Down laboratory and then the OPCW have declared that they are unable to identify the origin of the substance used. As recently as May 3, Czech President Milos Zeman confirmed that in his country, a small quantity of Novichok had been produced and later destroyed. This is a most powerful proof of the fact that any modern chemical lab in a developed country is capable of producing this kind of nerve agents. The mere identification of the substance gives no basis whatsoever to the serious accusations voiced against Russia at the highest level.

Myth No.2 was that Britain had positive evidence pointing at Russia’s involvement. Yet after numerous inconsistent media leaks, National Security Adviser Sir Mark Sedwill declared on May 1 that no suspects have been identified by the investigation. So after eight weeks of allegedly the largest criminal investigation in British history, with exclusive access to victims, witnesses, CCTV footage, air passengers’ lists and intelligence data, the investigation still has come up with no names and no weapon of crime. This is what happens when, due to high-level political pressure, police has to look only in one direction (or not look at all) and feed the public with misleading leaks.

Instead of tying the hands of the police and the media, British authorities should urgently ensure transparency and impartiality of the investigation and live up to its obligations under international law with regard to consular access to the two Russian citizens.

Embassy of the Russian Federation in Cambodia – Phnom Penh

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