Russia has again denied involvement in the poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter, and said Britain’s accusation that Moscow played a role was unacceptable.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov spoke to reporters Thursday, saying, “Neither Russia’s top leadership nor those in the ranks below, nor any official representatives have anything to do with the events in Salisbury.”
Britain charged two alleged Russian agents in absentia Wednesday with the attempted murder of Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, in Salisbury, a southern English city. British Prime Minister Theresa May has accused the Kremlin of plotting the March 4 attack.
Peskov also said Russia “has no reasons” to investigate the suspected agents who were charged because Britain has not asked for legal assistance.
Separately, Canada, France, Germany, Britain and the U.S. issued a joint statement applauding the charges brought against the two suspects. They also expressed faith in the findings of British investigators.
“We have full confidence in the British assessment that the two suspects were officers from the Russian military intelligence service, also known as the GRU, and that this operation was almost certainly approved at a senior government level.”
In New York, the British updated the U.N. Security Council on the latest developments.
Ambassador Karen Pierce said British police carried out a “painstaking and methodical” investigation involving more than 250 detectives who reviewed as part of their work over 11,000 hours of closed-circuit television footage and took 1,400 statements.
“This is evidence has been sufficient for our independent prosecuting authorities to bring criminal charges in relation to the Salisbury attack and issue European Union arrest warrants,” Pierce said.
The two alleged Russian agents are no longer in Britain, and Pierce said they would take every step to extradite them should they travel outside of Russia.
Russian envoy Vassily Nebenzia dismissed British accusations as an “unfounded and mendacious cocktail of facts” and accused London of unleashing “a disgusting anti-Russian hysteria”.
He reiterated that Russia has never developed, produced or stockpiled the nerve agent Novichok, which was used in the Salisbury attack.
Credit: Voice of America (VOA) | Photo Credit: Reuters