British Foreign Office Speaks out Against New Anti-Russian Sanctions

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Translated by Ollie Richardson for Fort Russ

19th January, 2016


The British Foreign Office has called on Prime Minister David Cameron not to impose new economic sanctions against Russia, even if the judicial investigation “into the cause of Litvinenko’s death” comes to the conclusion that his death allegedly involved Russia. This was reported by the online version of the newspaper The Guardian. 

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Prime Minister David Cameron will be under considerable political pressure for the adoption of new anti-Russian measures, from the Liberal Democrats for example, the newspaper notes. In such a situation, “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs seeks to avoid full-scale sanctions, in particular because cooperation with the Russian leadership “is vital to create a united front against the “Islamic State” (IS, is prohibited in Russia) in Syria”, states The Guardian. “The Foreign Office and the Minister of Internal Affairs, Theresa May, will do everything possible to ensure the inquiry is completely independent from the government and would not be a political action,” reads the article.

According to the publication, the report on the case will be provided to Cameron by May on January 19th, almost two days before its promulgation in the Parliament on January 21st (12:35 GMT). After that the investigating coroner, Robert Owen, will make a statement. 

The public inquiry into Litvinenko’s death began in a London court in January last year. Initially it was due to be completed in March 2015, but it was later extended due to the expressed desire of Russian businessman Dmitry Kovtun to give evidence. In the end, Kovtun, who London suspects of involvement in the death in 2006 in London of former FSB agent Alexander Litvinenko, refused to act as witness.

After public hearings they continued behind closed doors. Only 34 days of open trial, as was reported by Robin Tam QC, council to the Inquiry at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, was conducted in which testimonies from 62 witnesses were heard.

The President’s Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov earlier said don’t trust suggestions of involvement of the Russian state in the murder of Litvinenko. “No, we don’t trust it. If you remember, when Litvinenko died, similar charges without any investigation had already been pressed in full from officials of Great Britain, and the authorities were still to investigate,” he said.

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