MOSCOW, July 19. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin said he does not believe that English secret services were involved in the poisoning of former Russian military intelligence (GRU) Colonel Sergei Skripal. He told this to US director Oliver Stone in an interview published on the official Kremlin website on Friday.
"To be honest, I do not quite believe this. I do not believe this is the case," Putin said in response to question on whether he believes that English secret services may be involved in poisoning Skripal.
On Skripal's possible whereabouts, the Russian president said: "I have on idea. He is a spy, after all. He is always in hiding." Commenting on whether Skripal had some information that he was planning to give to the press, Putin said: "I doubt it. He has broken the ranks already. What kind of information can he possess?"
Skripal poisoning incident
According to the British version of the incident, former Russian military intelligence (GRU) Colonel Sergei Skripal, 66, who had been convicted in Russia of spying for Great Britain and later swapped for Russian intelligence officers, and his daughter Yulia, 33, suffered the effects of a nerve agent in the British city of Salisbury on March 4. Claiming that the substance used in the attack had been a Novichok-class nerve agent developed in the Soviet Union, London rushed to accuse Russia of being involved in the incident. Moscow rejected all of the United Kingdom’s accusations, saying that neither the Soviet Union nor Russia ever had any program aimed at developing such an agent. Notably, Britain’s military chemical laboratory at Porton Down near Salisbury it failed to trace the origin of the substance that poisoned Sergei and Yulia Skripals.