Yulia Skripal. © Dylan Martinez / Reuters
The fact neither of those poisoned in Salisbury died and one seems to have recovered well after what Britain called an exposure to a Russian military-grade chemical weapon, casts doubts on London’s stance, says Vladimir Putin.
The Russian president made the remarks during a session with journalists from leading world media outlets on Friday, replying to a question by Clive Marshall, the head of UK’s Press Association Group. Putin reiterated that despite Britain’s initial claim that Russia used a military-grade chemical weapon dubbed Novichok to attack former double agent Sergey Skripal and his daughter, the actual effect of the toxin seems far from lethal.
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“I am no expert in military-grade chemical weapons, but as far as I understand if one is deployed the victims are killed on the spot and practically instantaneously. Thank God nothing like that happened,” he said.
“As we could see on TV recently at least [Yulia Skipal] looks quite well. Everyone is alive and well, thankfully. So I don’t think this is a case of a use of a military-grade chemical weapon. And if so, everything the British side said from the start is under question.”
Russia was blocked by Britain from taking part in the investigation of the high-profile case, which triggered mass expulsion of Russian diplomats by the UK and its allies. Putin said no conclusive result may come from the probe without Russia’s participation.
“Either we should conduct a comprehensive joint investigation or simply stop talking about it because it leads to nothing but damage to our relations,” he said.
Yulia Skipal gave her first-ever interview this week after being poisoned in April in the city of Salisbury, where her father lived after being pardoned in Russia for his work for British intelligence.
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