Monday, October 15, 2018

Skripal poisoning: Putin denounces ex-spy as ‘scumbag

Russian President Vladimir Putin has labelled poisoned ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal a “traitor” and a “scumbag”.

In a speech, he complained that the media were treating Mr Skripal as “some kind of human rights defender”, insisting he had betrayed his country.

Mr Skripal and his daughter survived an attack in Salisbury, which the UK says was carried out by two agents of Russian military intelligence.

But a British woman died in another poisoning that police say was linked.

UK authorities believe Mr Skripal’s door in the southern English city was targeted with the nerve agent Novichok.

It was sprayed from a modified perfume bottle that was later picked up and given to Dawn Sturgess, who died in July, they say.

Last month, President Putin insisted that the suspects named by UK police were civilians not criminals, and urged them to come forward. They later gave a televised interview.

He said on Wednesday that he thought the whole “information campaign” surrounding the former Russian spy who defected to the UK had been “blown up” and that it would pass, “the sooner, the better”.

Who is Sergei Skripal?

Mr Skripal is a former Russian intelligence officer, who was arrested in 2004 and put on trial for “high treason in the form of espionage” by a Moscow military court.

Authorities accused him of being a double-agent who shared Russian state secrets with Britain’s MI6.

He confessed and co-operated at trial and was then jailed for 13 years, but was pardoned in 2010 then released as part of a prisoner exchange.

“I see that some of our colleagues are pushing the theory that Mr Skripal was almost some kind of human rights activist,” Mr Putin said on Wednesday.

The Russian leader, a former intelligence officer himself, then described Mr Skripal as a “traitor to the motherland”.

“He’s simply a scumbag, that’s all.”

Who poisoned Mr Skripal?

The UK says two Russian nationals who travelled under the names of Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov tried to kill the ex-spy and his daughter Yulia.

The two suspects gave a televised interview in Russia in which they claimed to be “just tourists” visiting the city of Salisbury because of their interest in its 123m (400ft) spire.

However, their story was widely mocked in Russia as well as the UK, and one of the men was subsequently identified by an investigative website as Colonel Anatoliy Chepiga, an officer in Russia’s GRU military intelligence.

What Putin has said before

BBC Monitoring

About a fortnight after the poisoning, President Putin said any suggestions of Russian involvement were “total nonsense”, and called it “unthinkable that anyone in Russia would do such a thing ahead of the presidential election and the Fifa World Cup”.

In May, Mr Putin denied that Skripal was poisoned with a military-grade nerve agent, saying he would have died “on the scene” if that was the case. “A military toxic agent is so powerful that it kills a person instantaneously,” the president added.

He went on to deny that Russia had any chemical agents: “We have destroyed all our chemical weapons.”

After Sergei Skripal was discharged from hospital later in May, Mr Putin sounded delighted.

“God bless his health, we’re very glad about this,” the president told a news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. “Thank God he’s recovered… and I hope he’ll be healthy.”

The website, Bellingcat, said Col Chepiga had been made “Hero of the Russian Federation” by President Putin himself in 2014.

Speaking to the BBC, a woman in the town where Chepiga grew up then then identified the Salisbury suspect as the intelligence officer.

On Wednesday Mr Putin dismissed the allegation that Russia was responsible for Ms Sturgess’s death.

“Sometimes I’m amazed by what’s going on around this case: so some guys came to Great Britain and started poisoning homeless people? What nonsense!” he said.

SourceBBC

Stay Connected

16,140FansLike
19FollowersFollow
0FollowersFollow
348FollowersFollow

Latest News

How female sex tourists are exploiting African Men

Older women from Europe and North America are now known to frequent African resorts in pursuit of ‘sexcapades’ as they are called. The scenery in...

Usain Bolt shocked by surprise doping tests as he chases A-League contract

The superstar is still attracting the attention of doping authorities The world's fastest man is still being chased for drug tests with Usain Bolt...

Conférence de presse du MRC : la police disperse les journalistes à Yaoundé

Initialement prévue ce 15 octobre à 15 h, la conférence de presse de Paul Eric Kingue, le directeur de campagne de Maurice Kamto, n’a...

Thierry Henry a tout pour réussir à l’AS Monaco – Didier Deschamps

Au lendemain de l'officialisation de la nomination de Thierry Henry au poste d'entraîneur de l'AS Monaco, le sélectionneur des Bleus Didier Deschamps a rendu...

Le chauffeur de Fru Ndi blessé par balle par des éléments de l’armée camerounaise.

Le chauffeur de John Fru Ndi, président du SDF, principal parti d'opposition du Cameroun, a été mortellement blessé par balle par des éléments de...