Question: What could you say about the investigation into the incidents in Salisbury and Amesbury?
Maria Zakharova: We have noticed that Britain has lately modified the tactics of covering the investigation into the Salisbury and Amesbury incidents. While earlier the London police limited themselves to general phrases accompanied by a lot of media leaks and high-level politicised statements, then now they make regular public statements, with politicians referring to the need to wait for police conclusions. Despite insufficient informative value, this creates an illusion of transparency.
However, reports about the investigation’s complexity and all the work it takes to conduct it should not delude anyone. In fact, they mean just one thing: Despite their large-scale efforts, the British police are unable to corroborate the Salisbury crime version imposed on the public by the British political establishment with facts.
Besides, the London police have announced that a coroner enquiry with regard to Dawn Sturgess, who died in hospital on July 8, will open in Salisbury on July 19. Let me explain that this is a quasi-judicial procedure aimed to legally ascertain the cause of death. Given the ungrounded accusations which Britain hastened to level at Russia, it is of fundamental importance to ensure maximum transparency of the investigation. We will regard its transfer to the courts and subsequent classification as an attempt to hide the true masterminds as well as the perpetrators of these crimes from the public.
To reiterate: Given the sum of all statements made by London in the context of the Salisbury and Amesbury incidents, we hope for their thorough, good-faith and open investigation. As was repeatedly stated, the Russian law enforcement authorities are ready to help their British colleagues in this regard.
Question: Has London cooperated with Russia in investigating the Salisbury incident and Nikolai Glushkov’s murder?
Maria Zakharova: In keeping with the 1959 European Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters, the Prosecutor General’s Office of Russia sent to the UK relevant authorities, back in spring, several requests for legal assistance in two criminal cases related to an assassination attempt on the life of Yulia Skripal and the murder of Nikolai Glushkov.
To obtain information on the course and results of their considering the said requests, the Russian side has repeatedly addressed the related UK authorities both officially, including by presenting diplomatic notes, and via working contacts. There was no reply to our official enquiries.
We must again point out to the unacceptability of the situation where Russia, despite the existence of the relevant international legal mechanisms, is denied access to the investigation of criminal cases involving its citizens. London’s policy of this sort does anything but facilitate the establishment of the real circumstances and causes of these happenings and the identification of their perpetrators.
We once again call on the UK for detailed and responsible interaction in investigating the said criminal cases. The Russian side remains open to joint work and full-scale contacts with the UK law enforcement authorities.