In an interview with Sputnik, Vladimir Putin’s French biographer, Frederic Pons, added his voice to the growing chorus of disbelief.
“In the Skripal case, many elements of evidence are missing… My impression is that this whole thing has been fabricated, is a manipulation. I think so for many reasons. First, it is unclear why the Russians, Putin and the Kremlin are trying to kill a former intelligence agent, a double agent, even if he was a traitor. He has long since retired and poses no danger. Why do it now, at the risk of disrupting the presidential elections in Russia and giving Russia a bad name in the run-up to the World Cup?” Pons wondered.
He added that many people in Russia are concerned that foreign delegations and football teams may not come, which will be very bad for the championship which Russians see as a symbol of peace.
”The Skripal affair is bad for Russia… The British immediately blamed Russia, although the investigation is not yet over and a lot of evidence is still missing,” Frederic Pons argued.
Frederic Pons added that while Russia and Europe are interested in reaching an agreement, some people in the West are working hard to widen the rift between Moscow, France, Germany and the rest of Europe.
“I think that the Skripals’ case, which is so short of evidence, looks like a political fabrication aimed at alienating Russia."
Frederic Pons said he was also surprised by President Macron’s sudden change of heart towards Vladimir Putin. Shortly after his election Macron insisted that Vladimir Putin visit him in Versailles in what many saw as at least a partial restoration of bilateral relations and a resumption of a dialogue between Moscow and Paris.
“Then, all of a sudden, for a reason that I can’t understand, President Macron quickly embraced Britain’s position and acted in the same vein at the Paris Book Fair. It is inexplicable, counterproductive and tactless," Pons noted.
He added that he was “shocked” by Macron’s failure to show up to greet Russian writers at the fair where they had been invited as guests of honor and by his explanations why he was snubbing Russian culture so badly.
“This deeply impressed me and the Russians with whom I spoke at polling stations [during the presidential elections in Russia] regardless of whether they were for and against Putin. It was humiliating. It was a stupid thing to do. In my opinion, this is a serious faux pas by Emmanuel Macron: you should not mix politics and culture,” Frederic Pons emphasized.
On March 4, former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found slumped unconscious on a bench outside a shopping center in Salisbury, England.
London was quick to point a finger at Russia, accusing Moscow of poisoning the Skripals with what British experts claimed was the military-grade nerve agent A234.
Moscow has strongly denied any role in the Skripals’ poisoning, pointing to the complete absence of evidence linking it to the March 4 attack.
The views expressed in this article are solely those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.