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Russia’s foreign intelligence chief blasts Skripal case as ‘crude provocation’

According to Naryshkin, "even if one assumed that some secret service had really been given such a task, the way it went about that business was very unprofessional"

MOSCOW, October 2. /TASS/. The director of Russia’s foreign intelligence SVR, Sergei Naryshkin, believes that the Skripal case was a crude provocation.

"Even if one assumes that some secret service was really given such a mission, the way it handled this case was very unprofessional. I can say once again that it was a crude provocation," Naryshkin said at a presentation of the two-volume edition A History of Crimea at TASS, when asked for comment on the Skripal saga. 

If the British version is to be believed, former GRU Colonel Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia on March 4 were affected by a Novichok class nerve agent applied to the handle of the door of their home in Salisbury. London claimed that Moscow was highly likely involved in this incident. Moscow strongly dismissed all speculations on that score, saying that no programs for making such a substance had ever existed in the former Soviet Union or Russia.

On September 5, British Prime Minister Theresa May briefed parliament on the investigation’s findings to declare that two Russians carrying passports issued in the names of Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov were suspected accomplices in the assassination attempt. Britain regards both men as GRU agents. Petrov and Boshirov in an interview to the RT television channel dismissed the charges.

The Daily Telegraph last Thursday claimed it knew the real name of the person suspected of the assassination attempt against the Skripals. The newspaper said that the man originally identified as Ruslan Boshirov was in reality Russian Colonel Anatoly Chepiga, a holder of several government awards.