Kremlin Slams Accusations of Russian Involvement in Alleged Poisoning of Ex-Spy

© AP Photo / Steve ParsonsPolice cordon off the area near the Maltings in Salisbury, England, where British media reported Monday, March 5, 2018 that a former Russian spy was in critical condition after coming into contact with an "unknown substance" on Sunday. British media identified him as Sergei Skripal, 66, who was convicted in Russia on charges of spying for Britain and sentenced in 2006 to 13 years in prison. Skripal was freed in 2010 as part of a U.S.-Russian spy swap.
Police cordon off the area near the Maltings in Salisbury, England, where British media reported Monday, March 5, 2018 that a former Russian spy was in critical condition after coming into contact with an unknown substance on Sunday. British media identified him as Sergei Skripal, 66, who was convicted in Russia on charges of spying for Britain and sentenced in 2006 to 13 years in prison. Skripal was freed in 2010 as part of a U.S.-Russian spy swap. - Sputnik International
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Moscow is not surprised that after the alleged poisoning of a former officer from Russia's Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) Sergei Skripal, in the UK, claims about Russian involvement immediately appeared.

"Unfortunately, I cannot give you any comments because we do not have any information. But, in fact, these accusations "were not long in coming" as we say in Russia," presidential spokesman Dmitri Peskov said, answering reporters' questions on the alleged Russian involvement in the incident which emerged in the Western media.

"Moscow is always open to cooperation," Peskov added, when asked whether Moscow was ready for cooperation in the investigation.

READ MORE: CIA Dismisses Report of $100k Payment to Russian Spy as 'Fiction'

The Kremlin's statement comes after earlier in the day, Wiltshire Police said that a man and a woman were found unconscious on a bench at a shopping center, adding that both people were "in a critical condition in intensive care." The BBC reported, citing its own sources, that the man was Sergei Skripal, a former officer from Russia's Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU), who'd been accused of espionage on behalf of London, but was granted an asylum in the United Kingdom after a US-Russia spy exchange.

UK cops - Sputnik International
UK Police Close Down Restaurant as Part of Mysterious 'Poisoning' Probe
At the same time, a police spokeswoman told Sputnik that they did not disclose the names of the two people, whereas the restaurant's representative said that it had been closed "as a precaution". Salisbury District Hospital, where the allegedly poised people are treated, told Sputnik that he refuses to confirm the identity of the patient, who is reported to be Sergei Skripal.

In 2006, Skripal was sentenced to 13 years of imprisonment in Russia on charges of espionage for the UK intelligence service. In 2010, he was pardoned by then-Russian President Dmitri Medvedevand released in exchange for Russian citizens detained in the West for similar charges. Skripal was granted asylum in the UK.

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