Russia’s embassy in London has sent a list of questions, 14 to be specific, to the British Foreign Ministry on the poisoning of Sergey and Yulia Skripal – which include a demand to clarify whether samples of the nerve agent “Novichok” have ever been developed in the UK.
The Russian embassy’s statement calls the incident that started the recent diplomatic row a “fabricated case against Russia.”
The questions published by the Russian Foreign Ministry’s official website have been translated below:
1. Why has Russia been denied the right of consular access to the two Russian citizens, who came to harm on British territory?
2. What specific antidotes and in what form were the victims injected with? How did such antidotes come into the possession of British doctors at the scene of the incident?
3. On what grounds was France involved in technical cooperation in the investigation of the incident, in which Russian citizens were injured?
4. Did the UK notify the OPCW (Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons) of France’s involvement in the investigation of the Salisbury incident?
5. What does France have to do with the incident, involving two Russian citizens in the UK?
6. What rules of UK procedural legislation allow for the involvement of a foreign state in an internal investigation?
7. What evidence was handed over to France to be studied and for the investigation to be conducted?
8. Were the French experts present during the sampling of biomaterial from Sergey and Yulia Skripal?
9. Was the study of biomaterials from Sergey and Yulia Skripal conducted by the French experts and, if so, in which specific laboratories?
10. Does the UK have the materials involved in the investigation carried out by France?
11. Have the results of the French investigation been presented to the OPCW Technical Secretariat?
12. Based on what attributes was the alleged “Russian origin” of the substance used in Salisbury established?
13. Does the UK have control samples of the chemical warfare agent, which British representatives refer to as “Novichok”?
14. Have the samples of a chemical warfare agent of the same type as “Novichok” (in accordance to British terminology) or its analogues been developed in the UK?
The Duran’s Alexander Mercouris added some necessary points to the growing mystery and confusion of the Skripal poisoning:
These theories have included claims that Sergey and Yulia Skripal were (1) sprayed with the supposedly deadly chemical by a passer-by; (2) sprayed with the supposedly deadly chemical by an aerial drone; (3) contaminated by the supposedly deadly chemical which was brought from Russia in Yulia Skripal’s suitcase where it had been hidden by some third party; and (4) were poisoned by having the supposedly deadly chemical somehow inserted into Sergey Skripal’s car.
The British and other critics of Russia have recently taken to citing as ‘proof’ of Russian guilt the fact that the Russians have supposedly been proposing various theories about who might have poisoned Sergey and Yulia Skripal.
The British – who unlike the Russians have control of the crime scene and samples of the poison – have however been at least as busy proposing various theories about how Sergey and Yulia Skripal were poisoned.
In both cases the fact that the Russian media and the British media – though not it should be stressed the Russian or British governments – have been busy engaging in their respective speculations about who who and how Sergey and Yulia Skripal were poisoned is not proof of guilt.
Rather it suggests ignorance, which if anything (especially in Russia’s case) is an indicator of innocence.
As I have said on many occasions, it is the guilty who so far from engaging in a variety of different speculations tend to come up with a single alternative narrative to explain away the facts, which they then pass off as the truth in order to provide themselves with an alibi.
As to the present theory – that Sergey and Yulia Skripal came into contact with the chemical agent on their front door – note the following:
(1) The British police have not said whether the chemical agent was smeared on the outside of the door or on the inside of the door.
If it was smeared on the outside of the door, then it was an extremely reckless act which might have easily poisoned a delivery person to the house such as a postman.
If it was smeared on the inside of the door, then whilst it might have been placed there by a burglar, the greater probability must be that it was placed there by a visitor.
If so then it is likely that either Sergey or Yulia Skripal or possibly both of them have some knowledge of the identity of this person. That might make the fact that Yulia Skripal is said to be recovering and is now conscious a matter of great importance for the solution of this mystery.
(2) If Sergey and Yulia Skripal really were poisoned with the chemical agent by coming into contact with it because it was smeared on their front door, then that would mean that the chemical agent took 7 hours to take effect.
Russian ambassador to Britain Alexander Yakovenko has claimed that the British authorities have told him that Sergey and Yulia Skripal were poisoned by nerve agent A-234, a Novichok type agent which is supposedly “as toxic as VX, as resistant to treatment as soman, and more difficult to detect and easier to manufacture than VX”.
(3) The suggestion that Sergey and Yulia Skripal were poisoned by coming into contact with the chemical agent on their front door must for the moment be treated as no more than a theory. It does however appear to confirm the presence of the chemical agent in the house.
If the latest theory that Sergey and Yulia Skripal were poisoned by coming into contact with a chemical agent smeared on their front door begs many questions, then the news that Yulia Skripal is apparently recovering well from the effect of her poisoning, and is now conscious and speaking and is no longer in intensive care, though extremely welcome, in some ways adds further to the mystery.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.