Britain has accused Russia of “pursuing a diversionary tactic” after the country’s London embassy requested a meeting with Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson to discuss the Salisbury poisonings.
The request came just a day after former Russian spy Sergei Skripal was revealed to be “responding well to treatment”.
There is growing speculation that Mr Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia, 33, who is also recovering, may be able to help the investigation.
Britain says the Skripals were poisoned with a nerve agent, novichok, and that it is “highly likely” Russia was to blame – something Moscow has denied.
In a statement on its website, the Russian embassy said it was “high time” to arrange a meeting between Boris Johnson and ambassador Alexander Yakovenko to discuss “the whole range of bilateral issues, as well as the investigation of the Salisbury incident”.
It hoped the British would engage “constructively and that such meeting is arranged shortly”, adding that “interaction” between it and the Foreign Office had been “utterly unsatisfactory”.
But the Foreign Office said it was “Russia’s response that has been unsatisfactory”.
It added: “It’s over three weeks since we asked Russia to engage constructively and answer a number of questions relating to the attempted assassinations of Mr Skripal and his daughter.
“Now, after failing in their attempts in the UN and international chemical weapons watchdog this week and with the victims’ condition improving, they seem to be pursuing a different diversionary tactic.
“We will of course consider their request and respond in due course.”
Two days ago, Mr Yakovenko claimed the Foreign Office had failed to answer requests for information about the investigation in Salisbury.
He also denied Boris Johnson’s claim in a tweet that Russia had a “motive” for targeting Mr Skripal.
“It’s not true,” he said. “Absolutely not true. We hear all the stories and the theories about our motivations. We don’t buy it. For us, these kinds of statements are unacceptable.”
He denied, too, that his country had ever produced novichok.
The news about Mr Skripal’s improving health came more than a month after he and Yulia were found unconscious on a park bench in the Wiltshire city.
Both had been left fighting for their lives.
Boris Johnson said Mr Skripal’s improving health was “great news” and “testament to the quick work” of the emergency services.
Yulia Skripal has said her “strength is growing daily”.
From – SkyNews