By Elena Teslova
Russia considers the attack on Sergey Skripal and his daughter an act of terrorism against its citizens, a senior official said Wednesday.
Two Russian citizens came under attack on British soil, but London refuses even to allow consular access to them, said Vladimir Ermakov, director of the non-proliferation and arms control department at Russia’s Foreign Ministry.
Ermakov was speaking at a meeting of Moscow-based ambassadors from European Union member countries.
He called the attack on the Skripals a "rudely falsified, illegal, crazy [assassination] attempt".
"Russia does not benefit from this case. We suggest that this case could have been orchestrated from across the ocean. It is no secret that Great Britain's closest partner remains the only state officially holding the world’s largest arsenal of chemical weapons," he said.
He noted that the formula for the nerve agent Novichok had been published in the U.S. in a book by Russian fugitive chemist Vil Mirzayanov, not in Russia. He said publishing such a book violates the Chemical Weapons Convention, under which the transfer of knowledge about chemical weapons production is prohibited.
Ermakov also questioned information being circulated about the warfare agent’s application.
“Does Britain understand what the warfare agent is? Any expert will tell you that actual use of the warfare agent inevitably leads to numerous casualties at the location where it is applied," he said, adding "there was a different picture in Salisbury”.
Ermakov recalled that Russia had destroyed all of its chemical weapons reserves, which was confirmed by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), and whoever doubts this fact, doubts the OPCW’s reputation.
Ermakov said Russia will not recognize the results of the OPCW’s investigation of the Skripal case if no facts are presented.
"These are dishonest intentions, to investigate something somewhere, not to disclose the facts to anyone and then present the results as an ultimate truth. With Russia, it will not work".
"Do you want to investigate? We are ready to take part in a joint investigation. Don’t want to? Well, this is a completely different question."
Former Russian spy Sergei Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia, 33, were admitted to a hospital on March 4 after being found unconscious in the city of Salisbury.
Skripal was granted refuge in the UK following a spy exchange in 2010 between the U.S. and Russia. Before the exchange, he was serving 13 years in prison for leaking information to British intelligence.
On March 16, the Investigative Committee of Russia launched its own probe into the Skripal case because a murder attempt had been made against Russian citizens.