Philippine Daily Inquirer

MOSCOW: WE OF­FERED TO HELP IN PROBE BUT LON­DON DE­CLINED

- —REUTERS

MOSCOW— The Krem­lin said on Thurs­day it had of­fered Bri­tain help in in­ves­ti­gat­ing the nerve agent at­tack on a Rus­sian for­mer spy and his daugh­ter last March, but had been re­buffed.

The Krem­lin was com­ment­ing on re­marks by Bri­tish Se­cu­rity Min­is­ter Ben Wal­lace who ear­lier called on Moscow to give de­tails about the orig­i­nal Novi­chok nerve agent at­tack af­ter two Bri­tish cit­i­zens were struck down with the same poison.

Moscow de­nied any in­volve­ment in the orig­i­nal at­tack on Sergei Skri­pal and his daugh­ter Yu­lia and said al­le­ga­tions of Rus­sian in­volve­ment were part of a plot to dis­credit Rus­sia.

Ready since March

The Krem­lin said on Thurs­day that Rus­sia had long been ready to help Bri­tain get to the bot­tom of what re­ally hap­pened to the Skri­pals but com­plained it had been ig­nored.

“To my shame I don’t know who Ben Wal­lace is,” Krem­lin spokesper­son Dmitry Peskov told re­porters in a con­fer­ence call when asked about the Bri­tish min­is­ter’s call for Rus­sian help.

“(But) the min­is­ter knows very well that Rus­sia pro­posed a joint in­ves­ti­ga­tion long ago and that this pro­posal was on the agenda. It was made long ago and un­for­tu­nately the Bri­tish side is not show­ing any in­ter­est in such pro­pos­als.”

Peskov said the Krem­lin was wor­ried by the lat­est news from Bri­tain and hoped the two Bri­tons in crit­i­cal con­di­tion would re­cover.

No re­quest

He said he was un­aware of any of­fi­cial Bri­tish re­quests to Rus­sia for help in re­la­tion to the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the new in­ci­dent and that the Krem­lin was con­cerned by re­ports that a nerve agent had once again been used on Eu­ro­pean soil.

Bri­tish po­lice scram­bled on Thurs­day to de­ter­mine how a cou­ple were ex­posed to the same nerve agent as the Skri­pals ear­lier this year as fear spread in the re­gion where both cases took place.

The cou­ple were taken ill on Satur­day in Ames­bury, close to Sal­is­bury, where the Skri­pals were found slumped on a bench on March 4 in an in­ci­dent that sparked ac­cu­sa­tions against Rus­sia from sev­eral coun­tries.

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