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Iran Press TV

OPCW's poisoning report may be part of UK agenda to discredit Russia: Zakharova

Iran Press TV

Thu Apr 12, 2018 04:53PM

Moscow has cast doubt on authenticity of a report by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) on the poisoning of a Soviet-era spy in the UK, saying it may be part of Britain's agenda to harm Russia's reputation.

Speaking at a briefing on Thursday, the Russian Foreign Ministry's spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, said Moscow would not trust any findings on the poisoning case unless its experts are given access to the probe.

She was reacting to a summary of the OPCW report released earlier in the day, which supported the UK's findings about the type of the nerve agent used in the poisoning of former spy, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter, Yulia, last month.

The two were found unconscious on a bench on March 4 in the British town of Salisbury and taken to hospital.

The UK accused Russia of being behind the incident and said the Novichok nerve agent -- a group of deadly chemical compounds reportedly developed by the Soviet government in the 1970s and 1980s -- had been used to poison the two.

Russia has strongly rejected the claims and, in turn, blamed Britain and the countries studying the nerve agent for the attack.

The OPCW report did not name the nerve agent, but said it agreed with London's analysis of the substance, without providing any evidence. It also did not blame any side for the attack.

However, UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson was quick to claim that the results meant there was "no doubt" about the Russian role in the incident.

Zakharova further said, "Russia won't take on faith any conclusion relating to the Skripal affair until such a time as Russian experts are allowed access to the samples mentioned" by the international chemical weapons watchdog.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov also said on Thursday that Moscow needs to study the OCPW findings before giving its view on the report.

London has called for a UN Security Council meeting on the poisoning case, which has triggered a severe diplomatic standoff between Russia, on the one side, and the UK and its European allies, on the other.

Yulia, a Russian national, was discharged from the hospital on Monday, but her father is "still seriously ill." She has refused Russian consular assistance and her whereabouts remain unknown.

The former spy's daughter has said she is supported by police officers, who are updating her on the high-profile investigation.

Commenting on Yulia's conditions, Zakharova raised fears that the UK could have forcibly detained Yulia Skripal.

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