Even as Russia has bene attempting to discredit the U.K. in its investigations in the alleged Russian links into the poisoning of the former spy in southern England, the U.K. government said that all indications coming out of the investigations point towards Russia.
“There is no doubt that we have found nerve agent, that nerve agent has been identified to have been manufactured, we believe in Russia, and we believe that the nerve agent, the Novichok type of nerve agent is only capable of being produced by a nation state,” Security Minister Ben Wallace said on Thursday in a BBC radio interview. “We can say that all roads lead to Russia, that we are beyond reasonable doubt that the Russian state is behind this.”
Russia’s ambassador to the U.K., Alexander Yakovenko, is slated to hold a press conference on the issue in London soon. Russia also wants to discuss the case at the United Nations and hence it has called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council on Thursday.
The alleged poisoning incident had resulted in the former double agent Sergei Skripal, and his daughter Yulia getting hospitalized in a critical condition.
Ever since Gary Aitkenhead, director of the U.K.’s Porton Down laboratory which was in charge of identification of the alleged nerve agent had said earlier that the source of the nerve gas had not been determined by his scientists and this statement was in stark contrast to what U.K. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson had said. following this, Russia has been putting pressure on the U.K to come up with evidence of the allegations it had made against Russia.
The incident of poisoning was “staged” to give a reason to the expulsions from many countries “whose arms were twisted”, said Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Thursday.
“Instead of presenting concrete facts, instead of an honest investigation, unsubstantiated allegations are made,” he said. “Self-respecting adults don’t believe in fairy tales.”
The terms and conditions for investigations as laid down in the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons need to be complied with in the British investigations into the incident, Lavrov said even as he also demanded a “detailed and responsible investigation”. By next week, results of test on the nerve gas that was conducted is expected by the OPCW, said the organization’s Director-General Ahmet Uzumcu on Wednesday. A joint probe demanded by Russia into the incident lost out by a vote of 15-6 at the OPCW.
And in the social media war with Russia, Britain found itself on the backfoot because of the developments this week. this despite the U.K. managing to convince its allies including the U.S. in Europe, Australia and Canada to organize a coordinated exercise to together expunge Russian diplomats from their respective countries in support of Britain. The result was that over 150 Russian diplomats were expelled from various countries.
(Adapted from Bloomberg.com)