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‘Novichok’ claims against Russia may stem from ‘domestic political climate’, says Medvedev

The Russian Prime Minister said that Russia's position "cannot be influenced, something that everyone realises very well"
Russia's Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev seen during an interview to the Euronews TV channel Alexander Astafyev/Russian Government Press Office/TASS
Russia's Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev seen during an interview to the Euronews TV channel
© Alexander Astafyev/Russian Government Press Office/TASS

MOSCOW, October 18. /TASS/. London’s claims that Russia was behind what the UK describes as an attempt to poison former GRU Colonel Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia are false and may stem from the ‘domestic political climate,’ Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev told the Euronews channel in an interview on the eve of his visit to Brussels.

"First, the assessments put forward by a number of countries do not reflect the actual situation, and second, they definitely are not leading us to a brighter tomorrow," Medvedev said. "In the majority of cases, similar assessments and similar sanctions are not meant to punish anyone, or do anyone harm, or demonstrate an international position. No! They have other reasons why they do it; so as to pander to the domestic political environment."

He expressed regret "any evaluation like this definitely does not promote international cooperation." He recalled that similar practices that existed "in the Soviet era, when the Soviet Union would use labels …, but this did not lead to anything good."

"That is why we believe that everyone has to be careful when furnishing assessments," Medvedev noted

Anti-Russian rhetoric powerless

Prime Minister Medvedev said that anti-Russian rhetoric was coming from the United States, too, but it was unable to affect Moscow’s policies whatsoever.

"Nine times out of ten, this anti-Russia crusade is being pursued entirely for domestic political purposes, to hold on to power, form a government or achieve some other goal. But, certainly not to sway Russia's position. It cannot be influenced, something that everyone realizes very well," he stated.

"We are perfectly aware of the fact that all that everything connected with Russia in the United States now is after various objectives. For all intents and purposes, its internal political squabbling. Feuds between the Republicans and the Democrats and discord inside the Republican Party," Medvedev said adding that the current events looked like "anti-Russian hysteria." The same can be said about the European countries," Medvedev emphasized.

Not acquainted with Downing Street’s ‘suspects’

When asked by the interviewer about the two Russians, Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, whom London alleges of being involved in the poisoning of the Skripals, Medvedev refrained from commenting.

"I do not know. I will not comment, just because I am not acquainted with those people, neither am I acquainted with the comments to a sufficient degree," he said when asked if he believed the two men’s story about the reasons for their visit to Salisbury, where the alleged poisoning took place. "I do not know. How can I know?"

If the British version of the incident is to be believed, former GRU Colonel Sergei Skripal, convicted in Russia of spying for Britain and his daughter Yulia on March 4 were infected by a Novichok class nerve agent in Salisbury. London rushed to claim that Moscow was highly likely involved in this incident. However, Russia strongly dismissed all speculations on this matter.

British Prime Minister Theresa May on September 5 briefed parliament on the investigators’ findings to declare that London suspected two Russians of committing the alleged assassination attempt. The men, she said, carried passports issued in the names of Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov. British secret services claimed that both individual were agents of the Main Directorate (the former GRU) of Russia’s General Staff. Petrov and Boshirov appeared on Russia’s RT television channel to dismiss Britain’s charges, including the claims they were Russian secret service officers.