“The British authorities are engaged in the systematic destruction of evidence,” Nebenzia told the United Nations Security Council, which held a session, called by UK on Wednesday, to discuss the OPCW report and other developments in the Skripal case.
“Skripal’s pets were killed. No samples were obviously taken. The places attended by the Skripals – a bar, a restaurant, a bench, park ground, etc – are all being cleared,” the diplomat said, pointing out that, despite some loud statements about the alleged contamination of the area, “people continue to live in Salisbury as if nothing happened.”
The envoy also reminded the council members that Sergei and Yulia Skripal, who, according to London, are now both recovering from the poisoning by a deadly military grade nerve agent A-234 (‘Novichok’), are kept hidden from the public eye ever since the March 4 incident. In the meantime, London categorically refuses to provide Russia any access to the investigation, and so far has left 45 out of 47 questions addressed to British authorities about the case unanswered.
In a summary of its report, the OPCW didn’t not independently identify the nerve agent used in the Salisbury case nor its origin, but instead only confirmed “the findings of the United Kingdom relating to the identity of the toxic chemical that was used in Salisbury.”
The conclusions made by OPCW were based on samples provided by the UK investigators and do not prove London’s claim of Russia’s involvement in the poisoning, Nebenzia noted. “The main thing that the report lacks, and what the British side was so eager to see, is the conclusion that the substance used in Salisbury was produced in Russia,” he said.
The UK Ambassador to the United Nations, Karen Pierce, however, downplayed the lack of technical evidence and urged the council members to look at “the wider picture which has led the United Kingdom to assess that there’s no plausible alternative explanation than Russian State responsibility for what happened in Salisbury.”
Extensively using the ‘highly likely’ argument, the UK envoy once again claimed in her address to the UNSC that only Russia had the “technical means, operational experience and the motive to target the Skripals.” At one point she even claimed that “President Putin himself was closely involved in the Russian chemical weapons programme.”
“London apparently thinks the Russian President has a hobby of running chemical weapons programs in his free time. I don’t know whether you appreciate that you’ve crossed all possible boundaries,” Nebenzia replied.
While the UK is yet to produce clear evidence of Russian involvement in the alleged poisoning of the former double agent and his daughter, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley once again attacked Moscow during the council meeting, parroting its ally’s narrative.
“As we have stated previously, the United States agrees with the UK’s assessment that Russia is responsible for the chemical weapons in Salisbury,” Haley said. “Whether that is in their direct act, or irresponsibly losing control of the agent, which could be worse, our support for our British friends and colleagues is unwavering.”