Sputnik: Russia has repeatedly offered to work with Britain into the investigation of who was responsible for the poisoning of Skripal, however British authorities have refused cooperation and even refused to send of samples of Novichok nerve agent used in the attack … What does this tell us about the handling of the case from British authorities?
Matthew Gordon Banks: I think there is a certain amount of hypocrisy on the part of the British government and the west in general. We, in the UK, are signatory to the Organization for the prevention of chemical weapons (OPCW).
We have signed the protocol and we should be giving the Russians the opportunity over a seven to ten day period of being able to do their own analysis, look at the facts and should be investigating this jointly. Instead what we’ve found is a huge rush – the public aren’t seeing a great deal of evidence and we’ve given Russia just 24 hours to respond. I can’t say I’m entirely surprised that they’ve thought that this was quite ridiculous.
Sputnik: Despite refusing to show any evidence that Russia is behind the poisoning of Sergei Skripal, it seems like the west and the UK are adamant that Russia is guilty…What affect will these rash and proof-less verdicts have on relations between Russia and the UK but also Russia and the West?
Matthew Gordon Banks: I think that relations generally in recent times have been deemed poor. This particular matter can’t help in any way at best and will likely make them deteriorate more.
What I’d like to see happen is the British using a carrot-and-stick approach; give the British government who won’t be persuaded to do what they should be doing, putting in at least some back channels of communication with the Russian government because at present they don’t really exist either. At a positive level, Russia has consistently said they would like to work with the west and the UK on things like Islamic terrorism. So far we haven’t really taken them up on that offer.
Sputnik: What effect does the runaway, out of control British media have on the handling of this case?
Matthew Gordon Banks: Well, a very considerable part of the British media is foreign owned. Particularly, by those based in the United States. Really, the balance of proof that we have seen (or not in this case) wouldn’t even reach the level required for a civil prosecution in this case. Something very significant we did see and still see a very considerable number of photographs relating to Alexander Litvinenko but we haven’t seen any photographs of policeman involved or Mr Skripal, or his daughter.
Why is that? I think that is very significant. I think the timing of this is very significant, the way it’s being handled and I hope that the Russian government will react calmly and carefully but whatever the result of that, the UK in particular over the last 6 or 7 years, has been very poor in trying to maintain relations with the Russian Federation and that is certainly very true with other western countries but not all and certainly not with many of our European partners who have actually been suffering themselves, as a result of sanctions placed on Russia.
The views and opinions expressed by Matthew Gordon Banks are those of the speaker do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.