Russian Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Alexander Yakovenko told the Russian NTV Television Channel on Sunday that Britain was the prime suspect in the Skripal poisoning case.
According to the Russian ambassador, “serious suspicions” now remain that the provocation was staged by British intelligence services.
“The Britons are claiming a leading role in the so-called containment of Russia. To win support from the people and the parliament for this containment of Russia, a serious provocation was required. And the Britons may have done a really savage one to get this support,” he explained.
He said he believed that efforts would fail to keep information surrounding the affair secret. “I am sure that Russia won’t let Britons out of the legal field and the Britons will have to bear responsibility,” the ambassador the Itogi Nedeli [Weekly Results].
Russia is currently “choosing the methods” to respond to the provocation of biological warfare, Yakovenko said.
“They are refusing to cooperate with us and are not giving us any facts. These realities naturally prompt us to conclude that this is a provocation by the special services,” the diplomat explained.
The poison could have been produced in Porton Down laboratory – a mere few kilometers from Salisbury, where the poisoning incident of the Skripals occurred.
The ambassador’s remarks suggest that Russia believes that it was in fact Britain that carried out an attack on two Russian defectors and they may have been chosen because of their Russian DNA.
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Senior Russian officials as well as President Vladimir Putin last year questioned why US researchers were collecting genetic material from Russian people, noting that the purposes of the research were obscure.
The group responsible for the tissue collection was none other than the US Air Force. In July when the AETC issued a tender seeking to acquire samples of ribonucleic acid and synovial fluid from Russians, it was specified that all samples (12 RNA and 27 synovial fluid) “shall be collected from Russia and must be Caucasian”. The Air Force said it would not collect samples from Ukrainians, but did not reveal why.
According to AETC spokesman Capt. Beau Downey, the 59th medical group’s molecular research center were requested for “locomotor studies to identify various biomarkers associated with trauma”. He told RT that they were collecting two sets.
But Downey did not say which set – the control or the diseased set – was collected first, and neglected to provide any more details about the study.
Russian officials suspect that the Pentagon was collecting the tissue for a sinister purpose, according to RT.
Russian President Vladimir Putin confirmed that Russian genetic material was being harvested all over the country.
“Do you know that biological material is being collected all over the country, from different ethnic groups and people living in different geographical regions of the Russian Federation? The question is – why is it being done? It’s being done purposefully and professionally. We are a kind of object of great interest,” Putin told Russia’s Human Rights Council. “Let them do what they want, and we must do what we must,” he added.
The Pentagon may in fact be working on a biological weapon to target Russians. Franz Klintsevich, the first deputy chairman of the Federation Council’s Committee for Defense and Security, wrote on Facebook that he suspected Western powers of sinister aims.
“It is also no secret that different ethnic groups react differently to biological weapons. Hence the collection of the biological material from Russians living in different geographical locations. In the west, everything is done extremely scrupulously and is verified up to the tiniest detail.”
Igor Nikulin, a former member of the UN biological weapons commission, told RT, the DNA sample collection was not the first attempt to obtain Russian genetic material by foreign agencies in Russia.
“Such attempts were made back in the 90s, when there was a Human Genome program, then there were various programs in the 2000s too… under different pretexts, including the most noble, but for some reason all this happens in the interests of the US military department, and this raises suspicion,” Nikulin said.
He said “samples of Europeans of the Slavic group, mostly Russians” were collected for analysis,” but what they are doing with the results is always unknown”.