Russian diplomat hits back at British counterpart's comments
Vladimir Vinokurov, ambassador of the Russian Federation to Jamaica, is rejecting claims by British High Commissioner to Jamaica Asif Ahmad about the alleged involvement of the Kremlin in the recent poisoning of a Russian ex-spy and his daughter on British soil.
At the root of the international spat is the discovery of 66-year-old Sergei Skripal and his 33-year-old daughter Yulia, who were visiting the United Kingdom (UK) from Moscow, in a catatonic state on a public bench near a shopping centre in Salisbury, England, on March 4.
Both were taken to the Salisbury District Hospital where medical staff determined that the pair had been poisoned with a nerve agent, later identified as a Russian-developed 'Novichok' agent by British Prime Minister Theresa May, who demanded an explanation from the Russian government.
RUSSIA GONE TOO FAR
In commentary published in The Gleaner on Monday, Ahmad, who took up the local post in August, declared that "Russia has gone too far", stating that more than 130 ordinary residents in Salisbury are being checked for contamination.
"The UK is home to over 800,000 people of Jamaican heritage. All of us in Britain and the wider world are now exposed to the threat of chemical warfare. The last time we faced this in Europe was in World War II," he argued, further cautioning that: "The only possible response from Jamaicans and others who know right from wrong is to condemn Russia for declaring war on civilians using a forbidden chemical weapon."
In a response sent to The Gleaner yesterday, Vinokurov charged that the comments by the British diplomat reek of Russophobia.
"Evidently there is no proof or evidence that Russia has something to do with poisoning. Russia is blamed for the crime on the principle, 'who else could do such a bad thing?'," he opined. "The British side stated that the poisonous agent used was a Novichok: 'a military-grade nerve agent of a type developed by Russia', but flatly denied Russia's official request to provide a sample," Vinokurov charged.
"How are you supposed to argue your case if the other side refuses to cooperate, present no evidence, and gives no information on the case," the Russian diplomat added.