Foreign Office accuses Russian Federation of 'diversionary tactic' over Salisbury

Russian ambassador to the UK Alexander Yakovenko speaks about the recent Salisbury poisoning. PA via AP  Yui Mok

The Russian embassy in London has requested a meeting between its envoy and British foreign minister Boris Johnson to discuss the investigation of an ex-Russian spy and his daughter who were poisoned in Salisbury. "We hope the British side will come up with a constructive response, and expect such a meeting to be organized in the near future", he said.

The Foreign Office confirmed that it had received a request from the Russian Embassy for a meeting with Mr Johnson, one of the most vocal Government critics of Vladimir Putin's regime over the attempted assassination.

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.

"It's not true", he said.

Russian Ambassador to the United Kingdom urged the British authorities at a press conference earlier this week to ensure worldwide experts' participation in the investigation into the incident in Salisbury, where former Russian military intelligence (GRU) Colonel Sergei Skripal and his daughter were allegedly exposed to a nerve agent.

Both had been left fighting for their lives.

The conditions of the Skripals has continued to improve this week, with the ex-spy no longer in critical condition, the hospital treating him said, and his daughter stating her strength was "growing daily".

Yakovenko has already sent a personal note to Johnson, the embassy said.

However, the British Foreign Office said it was Russia's response that had been "unsatisfactory".

"We will of course consider their request and respond in due course".

At a news conference Thursday at the Russian Embassy in London, Yakovenko repeated Russian allegations that Britain has denied its requests for information on the Skripals and the investigation into the attack.

Christine Blanshard, medical director at Salisbury District Hospital, said Skripal, 66, was responding well to treatment.

In retaliation to the UK's steps, Russian Federation expelled 23 British diplomats, closed the British consulate general in the city of St. Petersburg, while the British Council had to shut down its operations in Russian Federation.

At a session of the executive of the global chemical weapons watchdog earlier this week, Russian Federation called for a joint inquiry into the poisoning of the Skripals but lost a vote on the motion.

Two days later, at a UN Security Council meeting, Moscow's UN ambassador Vasily Nebenzia said Britain's main goal had been "to discredit and even delegitimise" Russian Federation with "unsubstantiated accusations".

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