Reacting to allegations of having a hand in poisioning of an ex-spy, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Tuesday said that Moscow is not behind the incident and will cooperate in the probe. Last week, Sergei Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia, 33, were found collapsed after being poisoned. A big controversy surfaced after United Kingdom indicated that Russia may be behind the incident. Both Skripal and his daughter remain in a serious condition along with a police officer. The agencies in the UK found that a military-grade nerve agent of Soviet-era was used for killings. “Russia is not guilty. Russia is ready to cooperate according to the Chemical Weapons Convention, if Britain takes the trouble and condescends to carry out its international obligations according to the same document,” Lavrov said.
Skripal is former Russian military intelligence officer, who was jailed for selling country’s secrets to London. In 2010, Skripal was moved to Britain in a spy swap in 2010. He later got settled in Salisbury. His daughter, Yulia, was believed to be visiting him in UK at the time of the incident. The incident took British intelligence agency by surprise. Soon, country’s police, with the assistance of Britain’s armed forces and its military research laboratory launched a thorough probe into the matter.
It was found that Novichok, a broad category of more than 100 nerve agents developed by Russia during Cold War, was used in the attack. As per some experts, Novichok is far “more dangerous and sophisticated” than sarin or VX. The experts said that Novichok causes a slowing of the heart and restriction of the airways, leading to death by asphyxiation. In 2008, Britain had claimed that Russia still has such biological weapons in its possession.
Speaking on the issue, British Prime Minister Theresa May openly named Russia and said it was “highly likely” that the country was behind the attack. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also slammed Russia and said that country is “an irresponsible force of instability” in the world.
Source: Financial Express