MOSCOW, December 20./TASS/. The West employs ‘politicized Russophobia’ in order to contain Russia as a possible rival on the global arena, President Vladimir Putin told the annual news conference on Thursday.
"This politicized Russophobic approach - it’s just a motive for organizing a new attack against Russia. Nothing new has been invented, it is obvious to me. And the only goal of this is to contain the development of Russia as a possible rival. That’s all, I don’t see any other aims," Putin said in reply to the question about the reaction in the West to the poisoning of Yulia and Sergey Skripal in the UK.
Focusing on the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi on the premises of the Saudi Consulate in Turkey in October, the president said "I have nothing to comment on here. Khashoggi was killed this is clear, everybody has recognized this".
"Meanwhile, Skripal is alive, thank God. Nevertheless, Russia has been hit by a host of sanctions, while nothing happens with regard to that case - absolute silence," the president said.
On March 4, Sergei Skripal, a retired Russian military intelligence officer, who had been convicted in Russia of spying for Great Britain and later swapped for Russian intelligence officers, 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 the accusations, saying that neither the Soviet Union nor Russia ever had a program aimed at developing such a substance.
However, the UK expelled 23 Russian diplomats and announced other restrictive measures against Moscow without presenting any evidence of its involvement in the incident. In retaliation to the UK’s steps, Russia expelled 23 British diplomats, closed the British consulate general in the city of St. Petersburg, while the British Council had to shut down its operations in Russia.