LONDON (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 07th June, 2019) The Russian Embassy in the United Kingdom has sent a letter to the UK's top secret research laboratory near Salisbury asking it to give Russian journalists access to its facilities and provide information related to the poisoning of Russia's former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, the embassy's spokesperson said on Friday.
The statement comes after BBC published a video on Tuesday showing how its security correspondent had been given exclusive access inside Porton Down, which researches defenses against chemical weapons and analyzes the world's most dangerous viruses like Ebola and Marburg. According to BBC, "it was in a high-security lab like this" where scientists confirmed the so-called "Novichok" nerve agent which poisoned the Skripals.
"We will continue to seek truth about what happened in Salisbury. Taking the opportunity, we are sending the letter to the Porton Down laboratory asking to provide answers to questions mentioned above. Bearing in mind that the British correspondent was given access to the laboratory, we expect that Russian journalists will also be given an opportunity to talk to the leadership and experts of this facility," the spokesperson told reporters.
The Porton Down lab, which was involved in the investigation into the nerve agent attacks in Salisbury and Amesbury, is located just some 7-8 miles from both towns. Last July, the Russian embassy asked London to provide information about the toxic substance found in Amesbury and to explain why the poisoning incidents took place in the vicinity of the secret lab.
"The following question arises: does it mean that the lab has 'Novichok' samples? For some reason, the [BBC] journalist forgets to ask about it ... But let me remind you that Boris Johnson, the UK's foreign minister at the time, has once directly spoken about the presence of samples of this substances. Gary Aitkenhead, the director of the laboratory, has not denied its presence either. This fact destroys all the speculative interpretations of the British government about Russia's responsibility for the incident in Salisbury," the spokesperson stressed.
The Russia-UK relations hit a new low following the poisoning of Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury last March. The United Kingdom and its allies have accused Moscow of having orchestrated the attack with what UK experts claimed was the A234 nerve agent. Russian authorities have strongly rejected the allegations as groundless.