Russia said it suspects UK Member of Parliament Denis MacShane, who initiated parliamentary debates on human rights in Russia, is deliberately trying to damage bilateral relations out of personal political ambition, the Russian embassy in London said in a statement.
MacShane, a member for the Labor Party, addressed parliament yesterday with a report on the case of Hermitage Capital lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who died in pre-trial detention two years ago, and proposed barring some Russian officials from attending the Summer Olympics in London.
“First of all, we would like to point out that the Russian side has always demonstrated its willingness to discuss human rights with its international partners which is always a two-way street," the embassy said in the statement published on Thursday. "In this respect Great Britain is no exception. Regular consultations on this topic take place between the Foreign Ministries. As is known, concerns are being voiced by both sides,” the statement said.
According to the embassy “the irresponsible attempts of certain parliamentarians to damage our bilateral relationship by taking advantage of real problems, including the tragedy of Sergei Magnitsky’s death … cannot but give grounds for serious concern.”
“The rude attacks of the Labor Party MP Denis MacShane in particular testify to this. The provocative behavior of this parliamentarian and his public statements can only be attributed to poorly disguised lobbying of known interests and personal motives, which apparently have to do with his direct role, as member of the former Labor Governments, in deterioration of Russian-British relationship,” said in the statement.
At yesterday’s hearings MacShane read out a list of Russian officials who may have been involved in Magnitsky's death.
In his response to MacShane's report, Foreign Office Minister Henry Bellingham affirmed the immutability of the British government's position, including its repeated call for a "thorough and transparent investigation" of the death of Magnitsky and those of a number of journalists and human rights defenders in Russia, including Anna Politkovskaya and Natalia Estemirova.