ST. PETERSBURG, May 25./TASS/. It is necessary to carry out a comprehensive joint investigation into the poisoning of former Russian military intelligence (GRU) Colonel Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia or drop the subject, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a meeting with the heads of world news agencies on Friday.
He reiterated that the UK accuses Russia of poisoning the Skripals with a chemical warfare agent, pointing out that victims of such attacks die right at the scene.
"I think a chemical warfare agent is not the case. And if so, all that was said by the British side initially is called into question. What is the way out of this situation? Either to carry out a joint full and objective probe or stop conversations on the issue, as all they lead to is the worsening of relations," the president said.
Putin stressed that "the most objective explanation to the incident can be given only as a result of a thorough, objective, and - I want to stress this - joint investigation".
"I am not a specialist in warfare agents, but as far as I understand the victims of chemical warfare agent attacks die at the scene, practically instantaneously," Putin stressed.
"Nothing like this happened, thank God, and Skripal himself and his daughter are alive, they have been discharged from hospital. As we have recently seen on television, at least his daughter looks decent, all are safe and sound," the president stressed.
On March 4, former Russian military intelligence Colonel Sergei Skripal, 66, who had been convicted in Russia of spying for Great Britain and was later swapped for Russian intelligence officers, and his daughter Yulia, 33, were found unconscious on a bench near the Maltings shopping center in Salisbury, the UK. Police said they had allegedly been exposed to a nerve agent.
London immediately accused Russia of being involved, but failed to produce any evidence. British Prime Minister Theresa May rushed to blame Russia for "unlawful use of force" against her country. She identified the alleged substance used in the attack as the so-called Novichok nerve agent, allegedly developed in the former Soviet Union. Subsequently, the UK expelled 23 Russian diplomats and announced other restrictive measures against Moscow. Russia has flatly rejected these allegations pointing out that neither the Soviet Union nor Russia had any programs to develop that substance.