MOSCOW, March 6. /TASS/. The Kremlin does not have any information about the reasons behind the incident involving former Russian military intelligence (GRU) Colonel Sergei Skripal, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
"I cannot voice any response because we don’t have any information," he said. "You know how he ended up in the West, what actions led to that, I will not repeat it. Now we can see that a tragic situation has happened but nevertheless, we have information about neither the reasons for it nor the activities the man was involved in," the Kremlin spokesman added.
According to Peskov, Moscow received no requests for assistance in investigating the incident but is nonetheless ready for cooperation. "Nobody made such requests. Let us wait. Moscow is always open for cooperation," he said.
When asked if Skripal still held Russian citizenship at the time the incident occurred, Peskov said he did not know.
While commenting on western experts’ statements about Russia’s alleged involvement in the incident, Peskov said it had not taken long to hear such allegations.
On March 5, an incident was reported in the English city of Salisbury. According to the local police, a man of about 60 and a woman in her thirties were found unconscious on a bench at a shopping mall. Their names were not made public by the British media said the man was Sergei Skripal.
The two were taken to hospital in critical condition. A restaurant where they are believed to have dined before heading to the shopping mall is closed, an investigation is underway.
Former Colonel of the Russian General Staff’s Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) Sergei Skripal was arrested by the Federal Security Service (FSB) in December 2004. An investigation revealed that back in 1995, he was recruited by the British intelligence to provide information constituting state secrets. In August 2006, the Moscow District Military Court sentenced Skripal to 13 years in a maximum security correctional facility, also stripping him of his military rank and state awards.
On July 9, 2010, when Russia and the United States carried out a spy swap, Skripal was handed over to the US alongside three other convicts, while Moscow received ten Russian citizens in return.