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Zakharova: Russia Blamed for Skripal Poisoning to Distract from Brexit 


RT Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan shows an image of the two Skripal poisoning suspects during an interview with Aleksandr Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, who are suspected by the British authorities of poisoning former GRU officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.
Maria Zakharova

Maria Zakharova

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman

“I insist: in this primate way [British Prime Minister Theresa] May’s government tries to play down the agenda of Brexit and the discussion of their own resignation. Too banal? It’s the best that they can do.”

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Moscow latches onto Brexit to distract from poisoning plot

On Thursday, November 22, British authorities released new CCTV footage of the two men suspected of poisoning former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia on March 4, 2018 in Salisbury, England.

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In the footage, the men, whom Bellingcat identified as Russian Military Intelligence Directorate (GRU) agents Colonel Anatoliy Chepiga (aka Ruslan Boshirov) and Dr. Alexander Mishkin (Alexander Petrov), can be seen walking past a gas station on Wilton Road near the Skripals’ home.

There, the suspects allegedly sprayed the military-grade nerve agent Novichok on the victims’ door.

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As part of its appeal for witnesses, the Metropolitan Police in London also released images of a specially made model of the counterfeit perfume bottle employed in the poisoning.

Images of a specially made model of the counterfeit perfume bottle published on met.police.gov.
Images of a specially made model of the counterfeit perfume bottle published on met.police.gov.

Investigators say that bottle had enough poison to potentially kill thousands.

On Thursday, November 22, the British detective who came into contact with the nerve agent described how he and his family had “lost everything” as a result of the incident.

In September, British authorities charged the alleged Russian agents with conspiracy to murder and attempted murder.

The two suspects charged in the Salisbury attack -- Colonel Anatoily Chepiga (aka Ruslan Boshirov) and Dr. Alexander Mishkin (Alexander Petrov).
The two suspects charged in the Salisbury attack -- Colonel Anatoily Chepiga (aka Ruslan Boshirov) and Dr. Alexander Mishkin (Alexander Petrov).

The latest footage was released the day after Igor Korobov, the head of the GRU, reportedly died from a "serious illness."

On Friday, November 23, Russian officials reacted to the latest evidence in the poisoning case.

"From the very beginning, Russia offered to cooperate with the British side to clarify the circumstances of this incident, but we were rejected,” Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters. “We were not met with reciprocity, and we do not have any information about what happened in Salisbury. We do not have information about what kind of agent was used, how much of it there was, what its volume was; we do not have information about who was poisoned, what happened to them, where they disappeared to, etc.”

But Peskov said despite the “lack of cooperation,” the “use of such strong chemical warfare agents in Europe is a very dangerous fact, and is a matter of great concern.”

Also on Friday, November 23, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova claimed the Skripal poisoning case was merely an attempt by British authorities to distract from Britain’s upcoming withdrawal from the European Union, known as Brexit.

"I don’t ask rhetorical questions any more. I insist: in this primate way [British Prime Minister Theresa] May’s government tries to play down the agenda of Brexit and the discussion of their own resignation. Too banal? It’s the best that they can do," Tass cites Zakharova as saying on her Facebook page on Friday.

While it is not possible to know the motivation of British authorities for releasing the video at this time, Moscow has long denied evidence showing a Russian hand in the Skripal poisoning and it is evident the Kremlin has attempted to advance other distractions.

The case for Russian involvement in the Salisbury poisoning incident is quite strong. As Polygraph.info previously reported, the OPCW (Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons) confirmed that the substance used to poison the victims was Novichok, a nerve agent that was developed by Russia.

The latest CCTV footage release builds on previous photo evidence putting the suspects at the scene of the crime on the day of the poisoning. The suspects also returned to Moscow on the same day the Skripals were poisoned, after two trips to Salisbury on their with their two day “tourist” visit.

U.K. -- Metropolitan Police statement -- Novichok – At 13.05 on Sunday, 4 March, the suspects Aleksander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov are caught on CCTV in Fisherton Street, in Salisbury town centre, heading towards the train station.
U.K. -- Metropolitan Police statement -- Novichok – At 13.05 on Sunday, 4 March, the suspects Aleksander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov are caught on CCTV in Fisherton Street, in Salisbury town centre, heading towards the train station.

Traces of Novichok were also found in the hotel room booked by the two suspects. The perfume bottle which held the chemical was also recovered, after a British man picked up the bottle and gave it to his girlfriend. Dawn Sturgess died and Charlie Rowley fell ill, but recovered.

A photo provided by the Metropolitan Police shows a perfume bottle and applicator recovered by police from Novichok victim Charlie Rowley's address in Amesbury.
A photo provided by the Metropolitan Police shows a perfume bottle and applicator recovered by police from Novichok victim Charlie Rowley's address in Amesbury.

Shortly after the poisoning, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov claimed the motivation behind the Skripal poisoning could “be found among those who are seeking to obstruct the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.”

But that conspiracy theory, just like the current attempt to say the Skripal affair is nothing but a distraction from Brexit, was false.

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