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UK’s anti-Russian accusations over Skripal poisoning case harm ties — upper house speaker

Valentina Matviyenko said it was obvious that it was a provocation against Russia

MOSCOW, March 13. /TASS/. Russian Federation Council (upper house) Speaker Valentina Matviyenko has dubbed the accusations against Moscow over the alleged poisoning of former Russian spy Sergey Skripal and his daughter Yulia as fake news ahead of the March 18 presidential election.

"In Russia, a very important political campaign is underway on preparing for the presidential election. This is another fake aimed at whipping up another round of the Russophobic campaign… What is being done in the UK harms our bilateral relations," Matviyenko said.

Groundless charges against Russia made at such a high level in connection with the presumed poisoning are a pressure on the investigators, acording to Matviyenko.

"It is obvious that it is a provocation against Russia and an attempt to groundlessly accuse Russia and exert influence and pressures… I believe that Britain’s investigative agencies will not follow this political trend, although such statements, made at a high level, are tantamount to pressure on the investigation. It’s an attempt to dictate a certain viewpoint, which is impermissible in a civilized legal system," Matviyenko said.

In her opinion, should one take the trouble of asking the question who might stand to gain from such actions towards Russia, the answer will be quite obvious: comments by politicians and journalists containing charges against Russia instantly followed the incident.

"Such crimes must be investigated calmly, scrupulously, in a balanced fashion, professionally and thoroughly, just as the other strange deaths in Britain. Politics is utterly out of place here. Only investigation may identify the suspect and the accused. Everything else is politicking, no more than that," Matviyenko said.

British Prime Minister Theresa May has accused Russia of involvement in the poisoning of the Skripals (father and daughter) and declared the intention to take more measures against Russia. She described the incident as an "indiscriminate and reckless act" by Russia against the United Kingdom. She claimed that the nerve gas, allegedly used in the incident, had been developed in Russia. The Russian ambassador was summoned to the Foreign Office over the suspected poisoning. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Russia had nothing to do with the affair.

Skripal case

Sergey Skripal, 66, a former GRU colonel, and his 33-year-old daughter on March 4 suffered from the effects of an unknown nerve agent. They were found in an unconscious condition on a bench in front of the shopping center Maltings in Salisbury.

In 2004, Skripal was arrested by Russia’s federal security service FSB and sentenced to thirteen years in jail for high reason. He was stripped of all ranks and awards. In 2010 he was handed over to the United States under an arrangement to exchange persons arrested on spying charges. Later in the same year Skripal settled down in Britain.