Russia demands answers in spy probe ahead of UN talks

Britain blames Russia for the March 4 poisoning on UK soil of former double agent Sergei Skripal with what it says was a Soviet-made military-grade nerve agent.

Russia demands answers in spy probe ahead of UN talks

World Bulletin / News Desk

Russia warned Britain Thursday it could no longer ignore Moscow's "legitimate" questions over a spy poisoning scandal, hours ahead of urgent UN Security Council talks on the spiralling diplomatic crisis.

"It will not be possible to ignore the legitimate questions we are asking," Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said hours before a meeting of the UN Security Council, which is due to discuss the spiralling diplomatic crisis between Russia and the West.

The crisis has led to the biggest wave of tit-for-tat expulsions of diplomats between Moscow and the West in recent memory.

Early Thursday morning some 60 US diplomats ordered out of Russia left their embassy compound in Moscow.

Russia called a meeting of the global chemical watchdog on Wednesday over the Salisbury incident, but failed in its bid to join the probe by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

Russia then requested a UN Security Council meeting on Thursday at 1900 GMT in New York.

Speaking in Moscow, Lavrov called for a "substantial and responsible" probe and the "presentation of evidence", reiterating that Russia was ready for "joint work".

At the same time, he alleged the Skripal case was used by Britain as "a pretext, either made up or staged, for the groundless expulsions of Russian diplomats".

President Vladimir Putin said on a visit to Ankara on Wednesday that "common sense" must prevail to avoid "this damage in international relations".

Moscow was unable to get the required two-thirds of votes from members to approve a joint investigation at Wednesday's OPCW meeting.

Diplomatic sources told AFP that six countries voted in favour of the Russian draft motion but 15 were against while 17 abstained, mainly countries from the Non-Aligned Movement(NAM).

Russia's UN ambassador Vasily Nebenzia said the meeting in New York would focus on a letter sent by British Prime Minister Theresa May accusing Moscow of carrying out the attempted assassination.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 05 Nisan 2018, 12:46