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'Fake news' about ex-officer aimed at straining Russia-UK relations, diplomat says

March 07, 13:23 UTC+3

Skripal and his daughter are staying in hospital in a critical condition

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Sergei Skripal

Sergei Skripal

© AP Photo/Misha Japaridze

MOSCOW, March 7. /TASS/. Moscow has not received any proposals from London to investigate the poisoning of former colonel of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Russian General Staff Sergey Skripal, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said at Wednesday’s briefing.

"We haven’t received any official requests or proposals of a joint [investigation] that would imply work of the Russian side from the UK’s officials yet," she said.

Asked about whether Skripal had been stripped of Russian citizenship, Zakharova reported that the Russian Foreign Ministry has no information about it. "We possess information that he was not registered with the consular department of our embassy in London. I have no other information on this account," the diplomat said.

Zakharova noted that the incident with Skripal was used by the Western media "to stoke the anti-Russian campaign."

"The western media jumped on the incident with Skripal to fuel the anti-Russian campaign. The situation has not become clear yet but the usual theories have already gained momentum," she said, adding that "these fake news stories are aimed at complicating Russia-UK relations, it is impossible to see any other reason behind them."

The poisoning

Former colonel of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Russian General Staff Sergey Skripal, aged 66, and his daughter Yulia were found unconscious on a bench at The Maltings shopping center in Salisbury on Sunday. The British police officers are determining the substance that made them fell ill. Skripal and his daughter are staying in hospital in a critical condition.

In 2004, Skripal was arrested by the Federal Security Service and later sentenced to 13 years in prison for state treason. Six years later, the former colonel was transferred to the US during an exchange of people arrested on espionage charges.

On Tuesday, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov stated that the Kremlin has no information about what might have caused the incident with the former colonel of the Main Intelligence Directorate. Russia did not receive any requests for cooperation in the investigation into this incident, he said, but Moscow is always open for cooperation.

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