MOSCOW, March 20. /TASS/. Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov has called on the public to remain ‘cool-headed’ and wait for London to provide evidence concerning the poisoning of ex-Colonel Sergei Skripal formerly from Russia’s Main Intelligence Directorate.
"Let’s remain cool-headed and wait for evidence from the UK that would confirm that the statement made at a high level in London is based on something real," Peskov said in response to a request for a comment on German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s statement that Russia should provide evidence that it is not behind this incident.
He stressed that "basic understanding of the law shows this need" and that "the issue here concerns the presumption of innocence." According to the spokesman, Angela Merkel’s statement is "not encouraging." Peskov reiterated once again, "Putin has repeatedly stated that Russia has no connection to this case - the possible attempted murder of the British spy in the UK."
"Saying the opposite would be nonsense. Russia has no chemical weapons supplies, as they were destroyed, including under control of international observers and in strict compliance with Russia’s international obligations," the spokesman added.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said during last week’s news conference with French President Emmanuel Macron that Germany and France share the opinion that many traces in the attempted murder of Skripal show that Russia is responsible for it.
Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned with a nerve agent on March 4 and found unconscious on a bench in Salisbury, UK. Both of them have been hospitalized and are in critical condition.
British authorities blamed Russia for the poisoning, but failed to provide any evidence to support their accusations. Russia refuted all of London’s allegations. With that, UK Prime Minister Theresa May announced the expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats and the suspension of high-level bilateral contacts. On Saturday, in response to London’s moves, the Russian Foreign Ministry reported that Russia had declared 23 British diplomats personae-non-gratae and would expel them within a week, close the British consulate general in St. Petersburg, and terminate the British Council’s activity in Russia.