Russia compliments 'the wise position of West Jerusalem' in spy affair

The State of Israel declined to mention Russia directly, opting instead to denounce the spy poisoning incident that took place in the UK.

By REUTERS
March 17, 2018 19:14
2 minute read.
Russia compliments 'the wise position of West Jerusalem' in spy affair

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)

The Russian embassy in Israel complimented on Friday “the wise position of West Jerusalem” regarding the spy poisoning affair in which Sergey and Yulia Skripal, a father and his daughter, were poisoned in the city of Salisbury in the UK on March 4. 

The two are hospitalized in critical condition. The UK claims they were poisoned by the Russian secret service using Novichok nerve gas, while the Russians reject such claims as false.

The UK expelled 23 Russian diplomats and announced it intends to close the British Council in the Russian federation as well as the St Petersburg British Consulate.

The Russian embassy in Israel insisted that the Russians sought British cooperation in looking into the event but got "zero information from the British side except for ultimatums and threats."

The Russian statement goes on to argue that Novichok was not produced in the USSR, that "the OPCW confirmed the full liquidation of the chemical weapons of Russia in 2017", and that it is the UK who has samples of Novichok and is able to produce it since the UK is the one claiming that it was this gas agent that was used in the attack. 

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said on Friday (March 16) that it was "overwhelmingly likely" that Russian President Vladimir Putin himself made the decision to use a military-grade nerve toxin to strike down a former Russian agent on English soil.

"Our quarrel is with Putin's Kremlin, and with his decision - and we think it overwhelmingly likely that it was his decision - to direct the use of a nerve agent on the streets of the UK, on the streets of Europe for the first time since the Second World War," Johnson told reporters during a news conference with his Polish counterpart Jacek Czaputowicz.

During the news conference the Polish foreign minister joined Europe's condemnation and blamed the Russian state for the spy poisoning.

Sergey Skripal was a high-ranking Russian security official who was working for the British as a double agent. Caught by the Russians in 2004, Skripal served time in Russian prison before being pardoned in 2010 to take part in a Western-Russian spy swap deal. He had been living in the UK since 2011.

Israel condemned the event “vigorously” on March 15 but did not mention Russia or support the British claim that any nation’s secret service was behind the attack.


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