MOSCOW — Russia’s Ambassador to the UK, Alexander Yakovenko, says that London’s reluctance to share information on the March 4 poisoning of former double agent Sergei Skripal has led Moscow to suggest that London authorities actually perpetrated the crime.
“We have very serious suspicion that this provocation was done by British intelligence,” Yakovenko told Russia’s NTV channel – adding however that Moscow had no direct proof, but that the UK’s behavior constitutes strong circumstantial evidence in support of their theory.
Yakovenko also notes that the British authorities have insisted on withholding information from the public regarding the deaths of high-profile people with Russian ties, such as former Russian intelligence officer Alexander Litvinenko, Georgian tycoon-turned-fugitive Badri Patarkatsishvili, Russian businessman Boris Berezovsky, and Russian whistleblower Aleksandr Perepilichny.
The March 4 poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the English city of Salisbury sent shock-waves across Europe. British authorities suspect Skripal was poisoned by a Soviet-made nerve agent.
Moscow vehemently denies its responsibility. European Union nations, the United States and other Western countries joined Britain in expelling more than 150 Russian diplomats from their countries.
Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko in comments relayed by Russian news agencies on Tuesday called Skripal’s poisoning a “provocation arranged by Britain” in order to justify high military spending because “they need a major enemy.”