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Iran Press TV

Russia says UK shows no interest in joint probe into nerve agent use

Iran Press TV

Thu Jul 5, 2018 02:30PM

Russia says the United Kingdom shows no interest in conducting a joint investigation into an alleged nerve agent attack on a former Russian double spy in southern England some four months ago, as an almost similar incident occurred in the same region in Britain over the weekend.

Back on March 4, British authorities announced that former double agent Sergei Skripal, 66, and his 33-year-old daughter, Yulia, had been hospitalized since they had been found unconscious on a bench outside a shopping center in the city of Salisbury.

Days later, they also announced that both victims had been exposed to a chemical weapon purportedly developed under a secret Soviet program, dubbed Novichok, accusing Moscow of carrying out the attack yet declining the Kremlin's request for a sample of the chemical agent.

The Kremlin has vehemently rejected any involvement, saying the substance could have originated from the countries studying Novichok, including the UK itself, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Sweden. It has already described the whole bunch of claims as a "circus show" hosted by the British authorities.

For his part, Russian President Vladimir Putin has called the UK's allegations "absurd" and "nonsense."

On Wednesday, the UK counter-terrorism police said that they had found two other British citizens, a man and a woman, had come into contact with notorious Novichok in Amesbury, a town near Salisbury, on Saturday.

Police cautioned that there was no intelligence indicating the couple was targeted deliberately, but British Prime Minister Theresa May's spokesman said the government's emergency response committee had met to discuss the incident.

"From the very beginning, the Russian side proposed conducting a joint investigation with the British side and this proposal remained without a response," said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov at a press conference in the capital Moscow on Thursday.

He added that Moscow had not yet received any information from the British side regarding the second incident.

"We do not have information about what substances were used and how they were used," Peskov further said, adding that the case was "very worrying."

Both victims of the Saturday incident are still in critical condition and are currently under treatment at Salisbury District Hospital, where the Skripals were treated.

The UK counter-terrorism police also said on Wednesday they were looking for possible links between the new incident and the Skripal case, which sent ties between Moscow and London to their lowest in years. London fired several Russian diplomats over claims that Moscow was behind the attack.

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