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New characters in Skripal saga complicate picture, says Russian diplomat


Jan 23, 2019

British media reports claiming that the British army's chief nursing officer Lieutenant Colonel Alison McCourt and her 16-year-old daughter Abigail provided first aid to the alleged chemical poisoning victims Sergei and Yulia Skripal only complicate the picture, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said at a briefing on Wednesday.

"If this information is verified, we are ready to give credit to the British student who is sympathetic to others and willing to help," she said. "

However, the picture of the Salisbury events is getting more complicated. The question arises why the British authorities kept this unusual fact secret for a year, while they on many occasions emphasized that the police had done a large amount of work in connection with the incident, and gave a minute-by-minute account of the Skripal's movements and possible contacts on that fateful day," Zakharova noted.

She went on to say that "British media outlets competed in reporting about Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey, who suffered a serious poisoning after coming into contact with a nerve agent in Salisbury and nearly died, becoming a national hero."

"Strangely, neither of the McCourts was affected by the substance used to poison the Skripals," the Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman pointed out. "So, a police officer was brought to the brink of death but a 16-year-old girl did not even had to see a doctor though the media claim she was the first to approach the Skripals after they had collapsed," Zakharova said.

"The number of questions concerning the so-called Skripal case is increasing day by day, but there still are no answers," she stressed. "London has made so many statements in connection with the incident that it seems not only Russia but the British citizens also have the right to demand the British government present hard evidence. Reliable information about the condition of the Skripals and their whereabouts would be viable. Moscow is still waiting for the United Kingdom to fulfill its international legal obligations and provide Russia with consular access to these people," she said.

According to her, Russian law enforcement agencies are still "ready to provide all necessary assistance in investigating the incident to their British colleagues."

Skripal saga

According to London, former Russian military intelligence (GRU) Colonel Sergei Skripal, 66, who had been convicted in Russia of spying for Great Britain and later swapped for Russian intelligence officers, and his daughter Yulia, 33, suffered the effects of an alleged nerve agent in the British city of Salisbury on March 4, 2018. Claiming that the substance used in the attack had been a Novichok-class nerve agent developed in the Soviet Union, London rushed to accuse Russia of being involved in the incident. Moscow rejected all of the United Kingdom's accusations, saying that neither the Soviet Union nor Russia ever had any program aimed at developing such a substance.