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Experts suspect London’s involvement in Sheremetievo land mine incident — Russian diplomat

March 15, 17:57 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman speculated that after being brought to Britain the "land mine might’ve been presented as an item belonging to some Russian citizen"

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Moscow's Sheremetievo airport

Moscow's Sheremetievo airport

© Marina Lystseva/TASS

MOSCOW, March 15. /TASS/. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has pointed out that some experts suspect Britain may have been involved in the attempt of a US embassy employee to smuggle the hull of a land mine through Sheremetievo airport.

"I can say with reference to a number of experts there is a suspicion the incident was not due to the embassy employee’s carelessness or foolishness, but an outright provocation. Analysis of a whole combination of factors indicates that London was surely behind all this. The US citizen’s route back home was through London, although, as you may know, direct air links between Moscow and the United States are regular and there are enough flights," Zakharova told a news briefing on Friday.

"What might’ve happened, if this US Marine who had worked at the US embassy in Moscow would’ve eventually managed to take the hull of an old land mine out of the country and the item eventually surfaced in the British territory? What if we would’ve been told: ‘It turns out that anything, including a land mine, can be smuggled out of Russia? It would’ve surely been easy to bring some Novichok (a nerve agent which, London argues, was used to poison former GRU Colonel Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia), too?’" Zakharova asked.

She speculated that after being brought to Britain the "land mine might’ve been presented as an item belonging to some Russian citizen and fresh proof" of what she sarcastically described as "the bloodthirsty Kremlin’s encroachments targeted at the lives of [British] subjects."

As the Russian Foreign Ministry said earlier, a US embassy employee, leaving Russia upon completion of his assignment, claimed that he had acquired the hull of a land mine for his private collection. The US national eventually missed his plane. Russian personnel helped him to check in for another flight and the man left for New York without the suspicious item in his luggage.

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