Newstalk
Newstalk

13.00 7 Apr 2018


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Russia's ambassador to the UK has requested a meeting with British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson over the Salisbury attack.

Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko has made the request amid the intensifying diplomatic row between the two countries.

The UK has accused Moscow of being responsible for the attack on former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia - but Russia has vehemently denied any responsibility.

More than two dozen other countries - including Ireland - have supported the UK by expelling Russian diplomats over the accusations.

In a statement today, a spokesperson for the Russian Embassy in London said: "Unfortunately, the current state of the Foreign Office interaction with the Embassy is utterly unsatisfactory. We believe that it is high time to arrange a meeting between Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson in order to discuss the whole range of bilateral issues, as well as the investigation of the Salisbury incident.

"Ambassador Yakovenko has already sent a respective personal note to the Foreign Secretary. We hope that the British side will engage constructively and that such meeting is arranged shortly."

The British Foreign Office said it had "received a request" and would be "responding in due course".

'Improving rapidly'

It comes a day after it was revealed that Sergei Skripal's condition is 'improving rapidly' following the attack a month ago, and he is no longer in a critical condition.

Yulia's condition has also significantly improved, and this week released a statement saying her "strength is growing daily".

At a meeting of the UN Security Council on Thursday, the UK was warned by Russia it is "playing with fire and will be sorry" over the Salisbury nerve agent attack.

It was revealed this week that scientists in the UK have confirmed the novichok nerve agent - developed in the Soviet Union during the 1970s - was used in the attack.

However, the tests could not confirm the chemical used in the attack was manufactured in Russia - prompting fresh calls from Moscow for Russian authorities to be involved in the investigation in to the attack.

International watchdog the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), meanwhile, says results from tests of samples collected in Salisbury are expected early next week.


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