LONDON, October 2. /TASS/. Former Russian military intelligence officer and British spy Sergei Skripal shared the Kremlin’s official stance on Ukraine and did not believe that his life was in danger, the Guardian wrote on Tuesday referring to The Skripal Files, a new book by journalist Mark Urban.
Skripal, who was convicted in Russia of spying for Great Britain, and later swapped for Russian intelligence officers, was given asylum in the UK.
Urban interviewed Skripal in 2017. His book that will be released later this week is based on those interviews.
According to the newly released paperback, while living in Salisbury, in the house the MI6 had purchased for him, Skripal watched Russian news on Channel One, the pro-Kremlin broadcaster, and shared Moscow’s stance on many issues. For instance, he supported the reunification of Crimea with Russia in 2014.
"Skripal also refused to believe Russian troops had entered eastern Ukraine covertly, saying that if they had, they would have quickly reached the capital, Kiev," the Guardian wrote.
However, Skripal avoided making public statements on his pro-Kremlin political views so his children Yulia and Alexander could visit him freely from Moscow, the Guardian noted.
The publication concludes that Sergey Skripal, when he regained consciousness after being poisoned in Salisbury did not want to believe London’s version that Russia’s special services were behind this crime.
It remains unclear how the Guardian came to such conclusions because the publication notes that the current location of the former intelligence officer is unknown and the book is based on conversations that took place in 2017 before Skripal had been poisoned.
According to official London, on March 4, Sergey Skripal and his daughter Yulia suffered the effects of an alleged nerve agent in the British city of Salisbury. Claiming that the substance used in the attack had been a so-called Novichok-class nerve agent developed in the Soviet Union, London rushed to accuse Russia of being involved in the incident. Moscow rejected all of the United Kingdom’s accusations, saying that a program aimed at developing such a substance had never existed in the Soviet Union or in Russia.
On September 5, British Prime Minister Theresa May informed the UK parliament about the conclusions that investigators looking into the Salisbury incident had come to, saying that two Russians, believed to be GRU agents, were suspected of conspiring to murder the Skripals. According to May, the assassination attempt was approved at "a senior level of the Russian state." The Metropolitan Police published the suspects’ photos, saying their names were Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov. In an interview with Russia’s RT TV channel released on September 13, Petrov and Boshirov refuted these allegations.
The Daily Telegraph claimed in its September 26 report that Ruslan Boshirov was actually a 39-year-old colonel of the Russian military intelligence service, and his true name was Anatoly Chepiga.
The Telegraph also added that Chepiga was a decorated colonel in Russian military intelligence given the country’s highest award by Vladimir Putin."
Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov stated that he had no information about any awards granted by the Russian president to an individual named Chepiga.