‘Drivel, rubbish, nonsense’: Putin denies poisoning claims

In his first public comments about the nerve agent attack, the Russian president said Moscow was ready to cooperate with the British government on the investigation.

He called the poisoning of Mr Skripal and his daughter Yulia a “tragedy” but said they would have died instantly if it was true they had been poisoned by a “military-grade nerve agent”.

Vladimir Putin Vladimir Putin delivers a speech during a rally and concert marking the fourth anniversary of Russia's annexation of the Crimea region
Image:Vladimir Putin denied Russia possesses nerve agents

“The first thing I thought was that if it was a real poison, they would have just died. They wouldn’t be in hospital,” Mr Putin said.

‘Drivel, rubbish, nonsense’: Putin denies poisoning claims
‘Drivel, rubbish, nonsense’: Putin denies poisoning claims

“The second thing – Russia doesn’t have any such poisons. We destroyed all our chemical weapons in front of international observers. We were the first to do it.

“We’re ready to work together. We need the other party to do that as well, although we haven’t seen any signs of that.”

He added: “It’s complete drivel, rubbish, nonsense that somebody in Russia would allow themselves to do such a thing ahead of elections and the World Cup.”

:: A poisoned spy – the story so far

Sergei Skripal and Yulia Skripal
Image:Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia remain in hospital

Mr Putin was speaking after securing a fourth term as Russian president following a landslide victory in which he secured more than 70% of the vote.

Earlier on Sunday, Boris Johnson said it was “overwhelmingly likely”that Mr Putin ordered the attack on Mr Skripal and accused Russia of “stockpiling” deadly novichok over the last decade.

The Foreign Secretary said: “We actually have evidence within the last 10 years that Russia has not only been investigating the delivery of nerve agents for the purposes of assassination, but has also been creating and stockpiling novichok.”

preview image

Video:‘They’re coming for you’: Russian exile receives threat

Mr Johnson will brief EU foreign ministers on the case on Monday before meeting with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.

Scientists from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons are also due to arrive in London as part of the investigation.

:: Analysis: Follow the money and you will get to Putin

Crowds gather in Moscow as a screen shows preliminary results of the Russian election
Image:Crowds gathered in Moscow to see the preliminary results of the Russian election

Experts will take samples and send them to “reputable international laboratories”, Mr Johnson said. The results are expected to take at least two weeks to come back.

Authorities are investigating whether the nerve agent used in the attack was administered via the ventilation system in Russian Mr Skripal’s car, Sky sources have confirmed.

Sergei Skripal car
Image:The poison could have been administered inside Mr Skripal’s car

Police have renewed their appeal for sightings of Mr Skripal’s burgundy BMW 320D saloon car, registration HD09 WAO, in Salisbury on Sunday 4 March.

More from Russia

  • Vladimir Putin wins fourth term as Russian president with landslide vote

  • Russian election: Novelties tempt voters to the polls

  • Follow the money: Financial measures could hurt Vladimir Putin most

  • Police contact Russian exiles in UK over safety after ‘murder’ of Nikolai Glushkov

  • Russia election: The secret of Vladimir Putin’s appeal as voters go to polls

  • Britain and allies plan next steps against Russia

The former Russia double agent and his daughter remain in a critical but stable condition in hospital.

Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey, who was also exposed to the nerve agent, also remains in hospital but is no longer in a critical condition, NHS England said.

Similar Posts