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Ex-intelligence chief slams London’s accusations in Skripal case as ‘heinous nonsense’

March 16, 6:24 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Sergei Skripal did not represent any interest for Russian intelligence in connection with the betrayal of Russia

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© Andrew Matthews/PA via AP

MOSCOW, March 16. /TASS/. Russia’s intelligence has never been involved in "heinous nonsense" of which the United Kingdom tries to blame Moscow amid the poisoning case of former Russian spy Sergey Skripal, ex-head of the Russian General Staff's Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) Fyodor Ladygin said.

"Russia’s intelligence agency, where I had the honor to work for many years, has never, I repeat, never resorted to such heinous nonsense, which the UK tries to attribute to it," Ladygin, who led the GRU in 1992-1997, told the Defense Ministry’s official Krasnaya Zvezda newspaper.

According to Ladygin, former colonel of the GRU Sergey Skripal had been of no interest to the Russian intelligence. "For us the fate of traitors is indifferent. For an intelligence officer, traitors die immediately - they absolutely stop existing in the memory, they are washed out of it."

On March 4, ex-intelligence officer Sergey Skripal aged 66, and his daughter Yulia, aged 33, came into contact with a nerve agent and were found unconscious on a bench in The Maltings shopping center in Salisbury. Both of them have been hospitalized and are presently in critical condition. In 2004, Skripal was arrested by the Federal Security Service and later sentenced to 13 years in prison for treason, and stripped of all his titles and awards. In 2010, the former colonel was transferred to the US during a swap of people arrested on espionage charges and moved to the UK the same year.

The British side accused Russia of being behind this incident and the poisoning itself to have been caused by a Novichok-type military-grade nerve agent designed in the Soviet Union. UK Prime Minister Theresa May blamed Russia for the illegal use of force on British soil and declared the expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats and other restrictions against Russia. The Russian side refuted its alleged involvement in the incident and declared it would carry out tit-for-tat actions in the near future.

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