Putin rejects accusations over poisoning of ex-spy


Associated Press

MOSCOW

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday dismissed British accusations of Russia’s involvement in an ex-spy’s poisoning as “nonsense,” but added that Moscow is ready to cooperate with London in the investigation.

In his first comments on the incident, Putin referred to the poisoning of ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter as a “tragedy,” but added that if the British claim that they were poisoned by the Soviet-designed nerve agent were true, the victims would have been killed instantly.

Skripal, a former Russian intelligence officer convicted in his home country of spying for Britain, and his daughter have remained in critical condition after the March 4 poisoning.

“It’s quite obvious that if it were a military-grade nerve agent, people would have died on the spot,” he said. “Russia doesn’t have such means. We have destroyed all our chemical weapons under international oversight unlike some of our partners.”

Putin’s comments came a few hours after British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said he has evidence that Russia has been stockpiling a nerve agent in violation of international law “very likely for the purposes of assassination.”

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