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Vladimir Putin: 'nonsense' to think Russia would poison spy in UK

Sunday - 18/03/2018 22:05
Putin, who has won a new presidential term, says Russia does not possess the military nerve agent allegedly used against Sergei and Yulia Skripal
Putin denied responsibility for the Salisbury attack. Photograph: Yuri Kochetkov/EPA
Putin denied responsibility for the Salisbury attack. Photograph: Yuri Kochetkov/EPA

Vladimir Putin said on Sunday it was nonsense to think that Moscow would have poisoned the former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, who are critically ill in a British hospital.

The UK government has said that the Skripals were poisoned by the Soviet-era novichok nerve agent, and the foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, said on Sunday that Russia has been stockpiling it and investigating how such weapons could be used in assassinations.

But Putin, in his first detailed comments on the poisoning, said Russia had been falsely accused.

“As for the tragedy that you mentioned, I found out about it from the media. The first thing that entered my head was that if it had been a military-grade nerve agent, the people would have died on the spot,” said Putin.

“Secondly, Russia does not have such [nerve] agents. We destroyed all our chemical weapons under the supervision of international organisations and we did it first, unlike some of our partners who promised to do it, but unfortunately did not keep their promises.”

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