02:07 GMT11 July 2020
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova called the publication about the alleged identity of Ruslan Boshirov, suspected by London of poisoning former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, "fake news" aimed at diverting public attention from what happened in Salisbury.

    Earlier on Wednesday, UK investigating bloggers from Bellingcat in cooperation with the Insider Russia website, published material alleging that Boshirov is "in fact" a GRU colonel called Anatoly Chepiga. Previously, Bellingcat had already published materials that were not confirmed.

    "A new portion of fake news about Petrov and Boshirov was presented immediately after the speech of [UK Prime Minister] Theresa May in the UN Security Council focusing on weapons of mass destruction, during which she repeated accusations against Russia. There is no evidence, so they continue the information campaign, the main task of which is to divert attention from the main question: 'What happened in Salisbury?' The question is: when will there be any evidence of the involvement of anyone, as London tells us, of poisoning in Salisbury?" Zakharova wrote on Facebook.

    On September 5, UK prosecutors charged Russian citizens Boshirov and Alexander Petrov with attempted murder of the Skripals, as well as police officer Nick Bailey. Theresa May accused Russian military intelligence of orchestrating the poisoning under the order of the central authorities. However, in an interview with Margarita Simonyan, the editor-in-chief of the RT broadcaster and the Rossiya Segodnya International Information Agency, Boshirov and Petrov refuted any involvement in the Skripal case, stressing that they visited Salisbury as tourists and worked in the fitness industry.

    The Skripals were poisoned with what London claimed was the A234 nerve agent in Salisbury, the United Kingdom, in early March. The UK authorities have accused Russia of orchestrating the attack, but Moscow has repeatedly denied any involvement in it.

    London said earlier this month it had identified Russian nationals Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov as the suspects in the Salisbury attack. Moreover, UK Prime Minister Theresa May accused Russian military intelligence of orchestrating the poisoning under the order of the central authorities.

    Moscow responded that the photos and names of the suspects released by London did not prove its involvement in the attack.


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