UK ambassador’s interview on bilateral relations ‘suicidal’, says Moscow

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MOSCOW, March 15. /TASS/. Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has deemed UK Ambassador in Russia Laurie Bristow’s interview with the Kommersant newspaper “suicidal and aggressive” during Friday’s briefing.

Bristow accused Moscow of aggression against Georgia and Ukraine, cyberattacks, support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons and murder attempts on the territory of the United Kingdom.

“I was not expecting such nonsense,” Zakharova said during the briefing in response to a question by TASS. “This shocking interview is aggressive, presumptuous and strange. All clich·s and stupid things that the British side traditionally uses when addressing Russia have been listed.” According to her, this is proof of London’s choice to maintain tensions in the bilateral relations between the two countries.

The diplomat noted the ambassador’s comment on the 2006 death of former FSB agent Alexander Litvinenko. “The ambassador thinks that this is a closed matter and that Russia is to blame. At the same time, he completely ignores the fact that Russia’s requests to share the information on the case were rejected by London without any reasonable explanation under the guise of secrecy,” she said.

Zakharova reminded that Moscow always supported objective and unbiased investigation of Russian citizens’ deaths in the UK.

She added that in the Skripal case, the UK officials also tried to “put everything on Russia”.

“The gist of the interview: Russia must unequivocally confess to all sins, even if it has nothing to do with them, and then it will “highly likely” be okay,” the spokeswoman concluded. “Such a line cannot become a platform for the normalization of bilateral cooperation and its development in a constructive way.”

The Salisbury incident

On March 4, 2018, ex-GRU colonel Sergei Skripal, who had been convicted in Russia of spying for Great Britain, and his daughter Yulia suffered the effects of an alleged nerve agent in the British city of Salisbury. Claiming that the substance used in the attack had been a nerve agent allegedly developed in Russia, London rushed to accuse Moscow of being involved in the incident. The Russian side flatly rejected all of the United Kingdom’s accusations, saying that a program aimed at developing such a substance had existed neither in the Soviet Union nor in Russia. Britain’s military chemical laboratory at Porton Down has failed to identify the origin of the substance that poisoned the Skripals. The Russian Investigative Committee initiated criminal proceedings in connection with an attempt on Yulia Skripal’s life.

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