Lavrov: Skripal case is pretext for groundless expulsions of our diplomats

Lavrov: Skripal case is pretext for groundless expulsions of our diplomats

Russia's foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said London cannot ignore Moscow’s "legitimate questions" over the poisoning of an ex-spy, as he called for a "substantial and responsible" probe into the case.

"It will not be possible to ignore the legitimate questions we are asking," he said, adding that Moscow is insisting on a "substantial and responsible investigation" in accordance with the chemical weapons convention.

Lavrov said Russian President Vladimir Putin had stressed the country was ready for "joint work" and was calling for the situation to be examined in a "fair way, with the presentation of evidence."

He reiterated that Russia views Britain’s refusal to allow it access to the investigation as "a mockery of international law, diplomatic etiquette and elementary decency."

According to the diplomat, the Skripal case was "a pretext, either made up or staged, for the groundless expulsions of diplomats", suggesting Russia is claiming the poisoning did not happen in the way it has been reported by London.

"Moscow wanted to “establish the truth," AFP cited Lavrov as saying.

He linked the poisoning to other allegations against Russia - from meddling in the US elections to chemical weapons attacks by the Syrian regime it supports militarily - complaining that Moscow faces “baseless accusations.”

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