00:41 GMT06 July 2020
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    LONDON (Sputnik) - The UK authorities refuse to allow Russia to contact experts that may shed an unfavourable light on London’s probe into the case of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal's poisoning in England, the Russian Embassy in the United Kingdom said on Tuesday.

    Earlier on Tuesday, Gary Aitkenhead, chief executive of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) at Porton Down told the SkyNews broadcaster that the lab identified the nerve agent used against Skripal as Novichok, but could not prove it was made in Russia or determine its country of origin.

    "By the way, some time ago we asked the Foreign Office to facilitate a meeting with Mr Aitkenhead or his colleagues, but have got no reply. One has to conclude that the UK Government prefers to block the Embassy from discussing the matter with experts who may possess the uncomfortable truth," the embassy told reporters, according to a statement published on its website.

    Aitkenhead’s statement confirms that all London’s claims on Moscow’s involvement in the incident were nothing more than a "bluff," according to the embassy.

    "We understood from the very start that UK Government statements on the nerve agent having been produced in Russia were a bluff. Now this has been confirmed by the head of the secret lab. This only proves that all political declarations on the Russian origin of the crime are nothing but assumptions not stemming from objective facts or the course of the investigation," the embassy noted.

    Moreover, Aitkenhead did not deny that the Porton Down lab could in fact be in possession of the agent known as Novichok, the embassy added.

    "We have also noted that, like in his earlier interview, Mr Aitkenhead is not denying that the lab had developed or keeps stocks of the agent they call "novichok", although, of course, he would not admit it," the embassy’s statement read.

    On March 4, Skripal, a former Russian intelligence officer as well as a reported ex-MI6 agent, and his daughter Yulia were poisoned in the UK city of Salisbury. London accused Russia of involvement, while Moscow has refuted the allegations, citing the lack of any evidence.

    Meanwhile, the Russian embassy in London sent a note to the UK embassy in Moscow containing the request to issue a visa to Viktoria Skripal, who wants to visit her cousin Yulia Skripal poisoned and hospitalized in the UK city of Salisbury earlier this month alongside her father, the Russian diplomatic mission’s press secretary said.

    "Today, we have sent a note to the UK embassy in Moscow asking to issue a UK visa to Sergei Skripal’s niece Viktoria. Several days ago we have already informed the UK side about this intention. We hope that our request will be considered as shortly as possible, as appropriate to particular case," the embassy’s press secretary told reporters when asked when Viktoria’s visit to the United Kingdom is expected, as quoted in a statement published on the diplomatic mission’s website.

    On March 29, the hospital where the Skripals are treated said that Yulia’s condition had been improving rapidly, while her father's condition was still critical.

    On Friday, the Russian embassy in London said that after the information has emerged about the improving condition of Yulia Skripal, Viktoria expressed a desire to come visit her cousin in the United Kingdom.


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