Moscow, April 2 (IANS) Russia had no interest in poisoning ex-spy Sergei Skripal, but Britain’s special services and government could gain from the incident, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday.
“It may well be beneficial to the British special services, known for their ability to act with a license to kill,” Lavrov said at a news briefing, obviously referring to fictional British spy James Bond, also known as 007.
“It may be beneficial to the British government, which found itself in an uncomfortable situation after not fulfilling promises to its electors over Brexit,” he added.
Former Russian intelligence officer Skripal and his daughter were reportedly exposed to a nerve agent in the British city of Salisbury on March 4. Britain and its allies accused Russia of launching a chemical attack against them.
Although Moscow has repeatedly denied any involvement, 25 countries, including Britain and the US, have expelled a total of more than 100 Russian diplomats, incurring tit-for-tat from Moscow.
At the news briefing, Lavrov reiterated that Moscow had no interest in poisoning Skripal, especially ahead of the presidential election on March 18 and the FIFA World Cup to be held in Russia in June and July.
If Moscow had any claims to Skripal, it would not set him free during a spy exchange several years ago, he said.
Lavrov said Russia would insist on getting access to the investigation of the incident and to Skripal’s daughter, who is recovering.
Russia has also called an extraordinary session of the Executive Council of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) on Wednesday, demanding answers to some questions regarding the incident.
“If our British colleagues are unable to provide answers to all of them, this will mean only one thing: all this is a fake, or, speaking more concretely, a gross provocation,” Lavrov said.