‘Something fishy here’: Putin doesn’t believe UK poisoned Skripals
Russian President Vladimir Putin doesn’t believe in conspiracy theories that say the British government poisoned former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury.
The Skripal affair, which turned relations between the UK and Russia from bad to worse, was brought up by filmmaker Oliver Stone during an interview with Vladimir Putin. Stone asked the Russian leader if he believes in the theory that Sergei Skripal wanted to return to Russia and divulge some secrets but was stopped by the British government.
“Honestly, I don’t really believe it. I don’t believe it,” Putin replied.
The Russian president said if British intelligence wanted Skripal poisoned, they certainly had the ability to do so. “There is something fishy here,” he noted, alleging that whoever was behind the attempted murder was more interested in the “scandal” that it triggered.
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Advising Stone not to take the conspiracy theory seriously, Putin said that Skripal, a former Russian intelligence officer who moonlighted for the Britons, hardly had anything to offer to Moscow in exchange for allowing him back.
He was out of the game. What information could he possibly possess?
Skripal was outed as a double agent and sentenced for treason in Russia, but his prison term was cut short by a spy swap in 2010, after which he moved to Salisbury. In March 2018, he and his daughter Yulia were affected by a toxic substance which the British government identified as the military-grade nerve agent called ‘Novichok’.
London accused Moscow of ordering a hit on Skripal and charged two Russian nationals who traveled to Britain at the time of the poisoning of being a Russian military intelligence hit team.
Moscow has repeatedly denied the allegation, urging London to hold a transparent investigation and provide proper consular access to the Skripals, whose whereabouts – and status – remain unknown. When asked about Skripal, Putin joked that he has no idea where he is because “he is a spy, he is always hiding.”
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