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    UK Home Office Refuses to Cooperate with Moscow on Skripals Case - Embassy

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    LONDON (Sputnik) - The UK Home Office has refused to satisfy the requests by Russia's Prosecutor General's Office to provide legal assistance in the probe into the nerve agent attack on ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the UK town of Salisbury, the Russian Embassy in London said Wednesday.

    "After many reminders, the embassy received on September 25 a response from the British Home Office, which refuses to satisfy the requests by the Russian Prosecutor General's Office of March 29 and April 17 to provide legal assistance in the investigation of the criminal case opened in Russia over the murder attempt on Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury," the embassy said in a statement obtained by Sputnik.

    "To justify the refusal, the British side refers to paragraph 'b' of Article 2 of the European Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters of 1959. Under this clause, "the assistance may be refused if the requested Party considers that the execution of the request is likely to prejudice the sovereignty, security, public order or other essential interests of its country," the statement said.

    In practice, this means that London is refusing to share any information or evidence gathered by UK Police when working on the Salisbury incident with the Russian investigators, the embassy said.

    "This position has now been officially approved at the highest level and acquired a legal form," it added.

    The embassy recalled that UK authorities had announced earlier that they did not intend to pursue extradition of the "suspects" and showed no interest in submitting their requests for legal assistance, which could include questioning of certain persons or provision of access to documents, so London did not aim to bring the investigation to its logical end in either Russian or UK legal framework.

    "Thus, the British side has confirmed that from the very beginning the aims of its campaign around the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal lay exclusively in the field of politics and propaganda. It has nothing to do with aspiration to establish the truth and bring those responsible to justice," the embassy added.

    On March 4, the former Russian double agent and his daughter were found unconscious on a bench at a shopping center in Salisbury, which prompted the United Kingdom to accuse Moscow of having poisoned the Skripals with what UK experts claim was the A234 nerve agent. The country's Porton Down lab has said, however, that it could not prove that the nerve agent used in the attack was made in Russia or determine its country of origin.

    Moscow has denied any involvement in the incident, saying London had not provided sufficient evidence to substantiate its claims.

    The situation has led to an international row, with scores of Russian diplomats being expelled from the United Kingdom and other EU countries. Moscow has expelled UK diplomats from Russia in response to the country's actions.

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    Tags:
    Investigation, cooperation, Poisoning of Sergei Skripal, Russian Embassy in UK, UK Home Office, Russia, United Kingdom
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