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Russian authorities could not be behind Salisbury poisoning, says ambassador to EU

March 14, 1:40 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Vladimir Chizhov dismissed allegations that Skripal and Nikolai Glushkov, a close associate of late Russian tycoon who died on March 12 under unclear circumstances, could be called Kremlin critics

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MOSCOW, March 14. /TASS/. The Russian authorities could not be behind the poisoning of the former colonel of Russia’s GRU military intelligence service, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter, Russian Ambassador to the European Union Vladimir Chizhov said in an interview with CNN television on Tuesday.

"They (Britons) have all my sympathy for the dire situation this little town of Salisbury found itself in. And those who actually suffered from that poisonous substance, I wish them the earliest possible recovery, including Skripal and his daughter," the Russian diplomat said.

"But I will tell them that the Russian authorities, Russian government does not employ such means of dealing with its opponents. I can assure you of that," Vladimir Chizhov stressed.

The diplomat dismissed allegations that Skripal and Nikolai Glushkov, a close associate of late Russian tycoon who died on March 12 under unclear circumstances, could be called Kremlin critics and thus the Russian authorities could benefit from their deaths. "And the current leadership of Russia has nothing better to do than to wipe them out a week before the presidential election? Do you think that is logical?" he asked the journalist.

Russia has nothing to do with the poisoning of Sergey Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Britain, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Tuesday.

"We’ve made a statement to dismiss this as nonsense. We have nothing to do with this," he said in reply to a question from a British journalist about Russia’s involvement.

He advised the British journalist to narrate in detail his answer to her question: "Russia is not guilty and it is prepared to cooperate in accordance with the Chemical Weapons Convention, if the United Kingdom takes the trouble of complying with its international legal obligations under the same document."

On March 4, Sergey Skripal, 66, a former GRU colonel, and his 33-year-old daughter on March 4 suffered from the effects of an unknown nerve agent. They were found in an unconscious condition on a bench in front of the shopping center Maltings in Salisbury. Both are now in hospital. Their condition is critical. In 2004, Skripal was arrested by Russia’s federal security service FSB and sentenced to thirteen years in jail for high treason. He was stripped of all ranks and awards. In 2010 he was handed over to the United States under an arrangement to exchange persons arrested on spying charges. Later in the same year Skripal settled down in Britain.

On March 12, British Prime Minister Theresa May accused Russia of complicity in the poisoning of Skripal and his daughter. She described that incident as "indiscriminate and irresponsible act" against the United Kingdom. She claimed the nerve agent had been developed in Russia.

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