Russia’s Foreign Minister has reiterated his claims that the UK may be responsible for the poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia.
In the first full response from Moscow since last night’s co-ordinated airstrikes by the allied forces, minister Sergey Lavrov also hit back at the “incontrovertible facts” the UK, US and France used to justify the strikes in Syria, and said they were not shared with the Russian government.
And he said that the Syrian government is ready to fully co-operate with an investigation into the use of chemical weapons in the city of Douma on April 7.
Following a press conference at Downing Street in which Theresa May linked the Salisbury nerve agent attack on the Skripals and the use of chemical weaponry by Syrian president Bashar Assad, Lavrov again said Russia had evidence the West was responsible.
May said: “We cannot allow the use of chemical weapons to become normalised – within Syria, on the streets of the UK, or anywhere else in our world.”
Highlighting documents presented to Moscow by Swiss researchers, Lavrov said: “We have received confidential information and these are questions that have something directly to do with life and death.
“They (the Swiss Centre of Radiological and Bacteriological Research) arrived at the following conclusion, and I will quote this word for word: ‘We discovered the traces of toxic element B-Z which was prohibited in the convention’.
“This is a paralytic gas which takes a person out of self-functioning within an hour. These recipes were available to the US, UK and Russia.
“Russia never did carry out the development of such chemical weapon.”
His criticism extended to Britain’s response of the Salisbury poisoning, which he said failed to take into account independent research from experts in Switzerland.
“We would like to concentrate in this case and other cases on facts,” he said.
“Also as far as the so-called Skripal affair, British colleagues refused to answer many of our questions which we asked them in different periods of time and they responded saying that Russia never answered any of the question they asked us.
“Therefore we are very, very particular and very, very careful with the facts that we need to ascertain here.”