Russia’s Foreign Ministry has condemned the search of a Russian airliner in a London airport, calling it another provocation by the British authorities against Moscow.

The British police went aboard an Aeroflot plane, which arrived from Sheremetyevo airport in Moscow to the British capital on Thursday. The officers said they needed to inspect the plane without explaining the reasons for the action and demanded the crew to leave the plane, Interfax reported. The Russian pilots refused to abandon the aircraft as it’s against regulations to inspect an aircraft in the absence of the crew.

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British embassy in Moscow, Russia. © Tatyana Makeyeva

“We’re speaking of another provocation by the British authorities,”Maria Zakharova, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, said, commenting on a search performed aboard an Aeroflot carrier plane in the British capital.

Zakharova said that the UK police are denying the Russian captain his right to observe the search carried out aboard his aircraft. “The British authorities asked the Russian crew, including the captain, to leave the plane. The commander of the aircraft proposed the inspection to be conducted in his presence as he’s forbidden from leaving the plane in accordance with the regulations. At the moment, the police proceed with the search without releasing the commander from the cabin and preventing him from being  present during the inspection,” she said.

“The behavior of the UK police clearly indicates the desire to conduct some kind of manipulations on board without witnesses,” Zakharova told Rossiya 24 channel.

The spokeswoman suggested that “yet another provocation was needed by the British authorities in order to save its reputation, which was heavily undermined by the so-called Skripal case.”

“We demand the UK authorities to return the situation into the legal field and abandon provocative behavior,” she said, adding that Russian embassy staff was heading to the airport where the search of the plane took place.

She called London’s actions “unacceptable, dangerous and irresponsible,” urging the international community to give them a proper evaluation.

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