British accusations ‘outrageous’

 

Sir, – The letter by the British ambassador in Dublin (March 22nd) shows that someone in London has decided that an all-out defamatory attack against Russia waged by the British government is not convincing enough for the Irish public. Hence, we have been witnessing this recycling of Theresa May and Boris Johnson’s baseless and outrageous accusations of Russian state involvement in the attempted murder of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury on March 4th.

Let’s put the record straight.

We wish Yulia Scripal and Sergei Skripal well, but we are concerned since nobody knows exactly their condition. From the very beginning, all official requests by the Russian embassy in London for consular access to Ms Skripal and relevant information have been denied. Neither has the general public any idea what is really going on, except a statement by the Scotland Yard saying that Mr and Ms Skripal are at a safe location and that a few months are needed to complete the investigation. Nobody has seen any proof of Russian involvement in the incident.

Russia has nothing to do with the incident in Salisbury. It has been stated many times by the Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov and just recently reiterated by President Vladimir Putin. Russia does not have a policy of eliminating opponents. Russia would have no motive for going after Mr Skripal.

Russia does not consider Mr Skripal a defector.

He had been sentenced by a Russian court for high treason, served four years in prison and was later exchanged in a spy swap.

Mr Skripal presented no interest or threat to the Russian authorities, and he was essentially written off and forgotten.

Moreover, Russia has no means to arrange that kind of chemical attack since Soviet chemical programme has been stopped in 1991, and all the stockpiles have been destroyed in accordance with the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons, and their destruction was overseen by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) observers.

At the same time, as has been indicated by many experts, including former Soviet scientists involved in chemical studies and living now in the US, the type of chemical agent that the British government is talking about has been extremely researched in the US and several European countries, Britain among them.

It is with deep regret that we have to state that from the very early stages the British government has behaved in a weird and utterly irresponsible manner.

Without any evidence to hand, the British prime minister and foreign secretary squarely blamed Russian side for the attempt to murder people.

They ignored existing legal mechanisms, both bilateral and international through the OPCW to launch a thorough investigation of the matter.

From the very beginning, by means of diplomatic notes, Russia suggested an adequate way of handling the issue.

The answer was “No”.

Even under the most vicious attacks from London, the Russian side remains committed to the unbiased and due investigation.

We want the truth.

The British government has to answer many questions, in particular: where, how, and by whom were the samples collected from Sergei and Yulia Skripal? How was it all documented? Who can certify that the data is credible? Was the chain of custody up to all the OPCW requirements when evidence was collected? Which methods (spectral analysis and others) were used by the British side to identify, within such a remarkably short period of time, the type of the substance used (“Novichok” according to the western classification)? As far as we know, to do that, they must have had a standard sample of such agent at their disposal.

And how do these hasty actions correlate with Scotland Yard’s official statements that “the investigation is highly likely to take weeks or even months” to arrive at conclusions?

What information and medical effects led to a hasty decision to administer antidotes to the Skripals and the British policeman? Could that hastiness lead to grave complications and further deterioration of their health status?

Which antidotes exactly were administered? What tests had been conducted to make the decision to use these drugs?

How can the delayed action of the nerve agent be explained, given that it is a fast-acting substance by nature? The victims were allegedly poisoned in a pizzeria (in a car, at the airport, at home, according to other accounts).

So what really happened? How come they were found in some unidentified time on a bench in the street?

The stubbornness of British side in its propaganda is reprehensible and useless. There is an ancient Oriental proverb: “No matter how many times you say sugar, it won’t make your mouth sweeter.”

There is still a hope, although slim, that reason will prevail.

It would be very much welcomed since we are talking about serious incident involving people’s lives. – Yours, etc,

VASILY VELICHKIN,

Press Secretary,

Embassy of the

Russian Federation

in Ireland,

Orwell Road,

Rathgar,

Dublin 14.

Sir, – If the Irish Government is considering the expulsion of several Russian diplomats over their possible involvement in the Salisbury attack on two individuals, how many other Russian, British, American and French diplomats will be expelled for the active role of their governments in bringing about the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people in Syria, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, etc?

Perhaps it is a question for Project Maths? – Yours, etc,

EUGENE TANNAM,

Firhouse,

Dublin 24.