Emergency services wearing protective clothing work near the bench where former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found poisoned in Salisbury, Britain, March 13, 2018..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Britain expects its friends, including Israel, to issue strong statements of support following the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, the British Embassy made clear on Tuesday.
“We expect strong statements of support from all our close partners, Israel included,” the embassy said in a statement, following a Kan Bet radio report that London was miffed at what it saw as Jerusalem’s weak condemnation of the incident.
On Thursday the Foreign Ministry issued a statement that did not explicitly mention Russia’s involvement in the attack, saying that it “views with gravity” the event that took place in Great Britain and “condemns it vigorously.
“We hope that the international community will cooperate in order to avoid such further events,” the statement read.
Other British allies, such as the US, France and Germany, issued stronger statements that made specific mention of Russian involvement.
British Ambassador David Quarry reportedly turned to officials in the Prime Minister’s Office last week with a request for a condemnation. When if did come, a couple of days later, it made no specific mention of Moscow, apparently in deference to the sensitive relationship Israel now has with Russia, which is deeply involved militarily in Syria.
While Britain reportedly made its displeasure clear to Jerusalem, Moscow went in the other direction, praising Israel on Friday for not being drawn into what it said was a hysterical anti-Russian campaign following the poisoning.
“The embassy notes with concern attempts undertaken by the government of the United Kingdom and supported by some other foreign nations and a number of media outlets, to draw Israel into [a] political and propagandistic campaign, which was unleashed by London under the false pretext of Russia’s alleged involvement” in the poisoning incident, a statement put out by the Russian Embassy in Tel Aviv read.
After denying Russia’s involvement in the attack, the statement concluded that “many members of the international community have already drawn conclusions on the degree of trust that London deserves in this particular case. Against this background, the embassy takes into consideration the wise position of West Jerusalem declared in the statement of the MFA [Ministry of Foreign Affairs] of Israel dated March 15, 2018.”