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Russia urges UK to present Skripal instead of publishing ‘fake news’ about suspects

The Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said that London acts according to a "we accuse you, you defend yourself" standard

MOSCOW, October 1. /TASS/. Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova advises her British colleagues to show Sergei Skripal instead of pushing reports on Colonel Anatoly Chepiga, allegedly, the real name of Ruslan Boshirov, one of the suspects in the Skripal poisoning case.

"The British media has come to another "right" conclusion in the Salisbury story: seeing that no one in Moscow has brought forward Chepiga over the past few days, then Boshirov is Chepiga, or Chepiga is Boshirov,", or Chepiga is Boshirov," the diplomat wrote on Monday on her Facebook page, commenting on the UK media reports concerning the Skripal case.

"Our British colleagues act in a plain and simple way: they ask Moscow to show "GRU officers," "heroes of Russia" and other virtual so-called participants of the drama, and for their part, they refuse to share anything about the investigation, besides political statements and leaks to the fake media created especially for this purpose," she noted.

Zakharova added that London acts according to the principle "we accuse you, you defend yourself." "I will repeat myself: before Chepiga, we would like to see Skripal," the diplomat concluded.

Skripal saga

Former Russian military intelligence (GRU) Colonel Sergei Skripal, 66, who had been convicted in Russia of spying for Great Britain and later swapped for Russian intelligence officers, and his daughter Yulia, 33, suffered the effects of a nerve agent in the British city of Salisbury on March 4. Claiming that the substance used in the attack had been a 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 neither the Soviet Union nor Russia ever had any program aimed at developing such a substance.

On September 5, British Prime Minister Theresa May informed the country’s 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 conspiracy 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.