Tag Archives: Skripals

Putin expects to turn page of Skipals incident

President Putin said he would like to see Prime Minister Theresa May’s successor respect of the interests of cooperation between the UK and Russia. (Image: Sergey Skripal’s daughter Yulia).

Putin, talking  to journalists on the margins of an economic forum in St.Petersburg, Russia, underlined that he hoped whoever succeeded Theresa May as Britain’s Prime minister would see what he described as the “broader view” and move on from the Skripal incident.

Three GRU officers under EU sanctions

The Council imposed  sanctions on nine persons and one entity under the new regime of restrictive measures against the use and proliferation of chemical weapons created on 15 October 2018.

These designations include the two GRU  officials, and the Head and Deputy Head of the GRU (also known as the G.U., or the Main Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces) responsible for possession, transport and use in Salisbury (UK) of a toxic nerve agent on the weekend of 4 March 2018. Sanctions are also imposed on the Syrian entity responsible for the development and production of chemical weapons, the Scientific Studies and Research Centre (SSRC), as well as five Syrian officials directly involved in the SSRC’s activities. These persons and entity are the first one being listed under the new chemical weapons sanctions regime. The SSRC was already listed under the Syria sanctions regime.

Sanctions consist of a travel ban to the EU and an asset freeze for persons, and an asset freeze for entities. In addition, EU persons and entities are forbidden from making funds available to those listed. This decision contributes to the EU’s efforts to counter the proliferation and use of chemical weapons which poses a serious threat to international security.

The legal acts, including the names of the persons concerned, are available in the EU Official Journal.

Russian tourists warned against visiting Stonehenge megaliths

Russians visiting the Stonehenge Megalithic monument in England risk drawing the attention of British secret services searching for evidence in relation to the poisoning of former Russian military intelligence Colonel Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, since the famous site is located not far from the city of the Salisbury where the alleged poisoning took place, the Russian embassy in London said on Twitter.
Advice to Russian citizens: when planning trips to Stonehenge and Salisbury, consider the risk of unwittingly drawing attention of British secret services struggling to produce evidence of Russian involvement in the Skripal poisoning,” the tweet reads.

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova suggested at a briefing this week that Russians visiting the Salisbury area should be cautions and carry the telephone numbers of Russian diplomatic missions in the United Kingdom.

Skripals: Lavrov points at NATO warfare agent BZ

The substance used on Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia was an agent called BZ, according to Swiss Spiez lab, the Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said. The agent has been never produced in Russia, but has been in disposal of the US, UK, and other NATO states.

Skripals were poisoned with an incapacitating toxin known as 3-Quinuclidinyl benzilate or BZ, Lavrov said, citing the results of the examination conducted by a Swiss chemical lab, which examined the samples London delivered to the Organisation for the Prohibition of the Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

The Swiss center conveyed the results to the OPCW. However, the UN watchdog on chemical weapons limited its report to confirming the formula of the substance  in its final report omitting the other facts indicated in the Swiss document, Lavrov continued. Further the Minister ensured that Moscow would request the OPCW to explain its decision to omit significant information provided by the Swiss report.

Lavrov revealed that the Swiss center that assessed the samples is the Spiez Laboratory. This facility is a Swiss state research center controlled by the Swiss Federal Office for Civil Protection and, ultimately, by the country’s defense minister. The lab is also an internationally recognized center of excellence in the field of the nuclear, biological, and chemical protection and is one of the five centers permanently authorized by the OPCW.

US-Russia diplomatic expulsions quid pro quo

Russia will expel 60 US diplomats and close the US Consulate General in St. Petersburg, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said.

US Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman has been summoned to our ministry, where my deputy Sergei Ryabkov is briefing him on the tit-for-tat steps against the US,” Lavrov said. “They include the expulsion of the same number of diplomats and our decision to withdraw consent to the work of the Consulate General in St. Petersburg.”

US representatives should fully move out of the building of the Consulate General in St Petersburg not later than Saturday, March 31, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

The US officials do not accept Russian quid pro quo:

 

Russia: UK is “beneficiary” of Skripals provocation

Moscow does not have any doubts the UK and the US took synchronized actions against Russia in the situation unfolding around the #Skripals poisoning case, the Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said, according to TASS News Agency.

“We realize the strength of the pressure that London and Washington and we don’t have any doubts now they synchronized their actions in the NATO and EU formats subjected their partners to,” she said. “We do understand how inhumane that pressure was, as they exploited the principles of solidarity and implementation of a unified foreign policy course” – Russian diplomat said.

London and Washington are the beneficiaries of this provocation, and the expulsion of diplomats that followed it,” Zakharova added.

 

Russian non gratae diplomats leaving EU

In a wake of Skripals case, upon London request to the allies and partners to demonstrate solidarity over “highly likely” Moscow‘ attack on double agent in Salisbury, Russian diplomats were declared personae non grata and subsequently expelled from EU member-states. However the most of them had to leave the U.S. to further detriment of relations between Moscow and Washington, which already had hit the lowest since Cold War era.

The UK expelled 23 Russian diplomats and suspended all planned high-level bilateral contacts. In response, 23 British diplomats were expelled from Russia. In addition, Britain’s consulate in St. Petersburg was ordered to be closed and the British Council’s operations in Russia were recalled.

 

On March 26, the United States declared 60 Russian diplomats personae non gratae. Among them are 46 diplomats from the embassy in Washington, two from the consulate general in New York and 12 more from Russia’s mission to the United Nations.

Germany, Canada, Poland and France followed suit by expelling four Russian diplomats each. Lithuania, Moldova and the Czech Republic expelled three diplomats, while Australia, Albania, Denmark, Spain, Italy and the Netherlands – two. Belgium, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Macedonia, Norway, Romania, Finland, Croatia, Sweden and Estonia each ordered the expulsion of one. While, Ukraine made the decision to expel 13 Russian diplomats.

NATO reduced Russian mission from 30 to 20 staff. Bulgaria and Luxembourg recalled their envoys for consultations.

 

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