By Stefan J. Bos
Russia’s state television has aired a recording of an alleged phone conversation, which it says took place between one of the two poisoning victims in Britain Yulia Skripal and her cousin. The broadcast came as the Russian foreign minister condemned British accusations that Russia poisoned a former spy and his daughter, while U.S. diplomats began leaving Moscow amid international tensions over the scandal.
British police stated on behalf of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal’s daughter to apparently show that she is getting better after being poisoned with a nerve agent. The statement is quoting her as saying: “I woke up over a week ago now and am glad to say my strength is growing daily,”
But the declaration came after Russia’s state television aired a recording of an alleged phone conversation between the 33-year-old Skripal and her cousin.
In it, the alleged Yulia Skripal says her father, who is 66, is resting now and sleeping.” She adds that “Everyone’s health is fine, there are no irreparable things” and that she will be discharged from hospital soon.
The controversy came while Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov told an international security conference through an interpreter that Britain was “mocking diplomatic ethics” in blaming Moscow for the nerve agent attack last month. “We have not seen such an open mockery of international law, diplomatic ethics and basic measures in a long time,” he said.
“It’s unacceptable to make unfounded accusations instead of conducting a fair investigation and providing concrete facts,” Lavrov stressed adding that “self-respecting adults don’t believe in fairy tales.”
After the West expelled dozens of Russian diplomats over the poisoning issue, Russia has begun taking similar steps.
Buses believed to be carrying the first group of some 60 expelled American diplomats left the US Embassy in Moscow on Thursday, the deadline day.
Separately Ukraine’s former president Viktor Yushchenko said he hopes Europe will wake up to what he called the threat posed by Russia following the poisonings in Salisbury England.
Fourteen years ago Yushchenko was taking on a presidential candidate favored by Russia when he faced poisoning with a toxic chemical.