The Russian Embassy in London has requested a meeting with the British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.
They say it is high time that a discussion took place regarding the Skripal ‘poisoning’ incident in Salisbury as well as Russia-UK relations.
The UK Foreign Office has described the request for a meeting as a “diversionary tactic”.
It was Johnson who insisted last month that the novichok nerve agent used in the Salisbury attack was made in Russia. He said officials at the Porton Down defence research laboratory were ‘absolutely categorical’ that the nerve agent was Russian-made.
So much for ‘absolutely categorical’ BoJo
RT reports: With the saga of the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter unfolding and London not backing down on claims of Moscow’s guilt, the embassy bemoaned the level of communication with the UK Foreign Office. Calling it “utterly unsatisfactory,” the diplomatic mission called for the situation to be reversed.
“We believe that it is high time to arrange a meeting between Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson in order to discuss the whole range of bilateral issues, as well as the investigation of the Salisbury incident,” the embassy said in a press release.
The Russian Embassy said that Yakovenko has already sent a request for talks with Johnson to the Foreign Office. “We hope that the British side will engage constructively and that such meeting is arranged shortly.” Later on Saturday, London said it received the request and would consider how to proceed.
Relations between Moscow and London remain in shambles after former Russian-UK double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were discovered unconscious on a bench in Salisbury on March 4. The UK said that they were poisoned by a military-grade neve agent of Soviet design (A-234, also known as ‘Novichok’) and blamed Russia for the attack.
The accusations were followed by sanctions against Russia and the expulsion of Russian diplomats from the UK and other countries which backed Britain’s stance, including the US, Germany, France, and Poland.
Moscow denies the claims, calling them “absurd,” and offered to cooperate with London in investigating the Skripal case. However, the British side has refused to talk to Moscow on the issue and has left calls to provide proof of Russian involvement in the poisoning unanswered.
London has also denied Russian consular staff access to Sergei and Yulia Skripal, despite them being Russian citizens. Earlier this week, Yulia Skripal’s cousin Viktoria was denied a UK visa on vague grounds of non-compliance with immigration rules, as she wanted to visit her relatives recovering from the attack in a Salisbury hospital.