UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt on Sunday threatened Moscow with grave consequences if it used chemical weapons, even though Russia destroyed its chemical arsenal – a fact that was confirmed by international watchdogs a year ago.
“Under the conservatives, Britain has a simple message for the Kremlin: if you try to intimidate this country, if you use chemical weapons, if you don’t play by the international rules, the price will always be too high,” Hunt said at the Conservative Party Conference.
On March 4, Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found unconscious on a bench at a shopping center in the UK city of Salisbury, which prompted London to accuse Moscow of having poisoned the Skripals with what UK experts claim was the A234 nerve agent. The country’s Porton Down lab has said, however, that it could not prove that the nerve agent used in the attack was made in Russia or determine its country of origin.
Moscow has denied all accusations, saying that the Skripal affair was falling apart due to the lack of evidence proving Russia’s involvement. The Russian Foreign Ministry has sent some 60 diplomatic notes to the UK Foreign Office demanding that Russia be given access to the investigation and the Skripals, who have Russian citizenship, as well as proposing legal assistance and cooperation, including on the joint inquiry. The UK authorities have not responded to any of these notes.
Russia has also stressed that it remains committed to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), while its arsenal of chemical weapons was fully destroyed, which was confirmed by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in September 2017.