Russia to look into new claims on UK poisoning suspects
Russian authorities say they will investigate claims in the British media that one of the two men accused of a poisoning attack on a double spy in southern England in March was a Russian colonel.
Kremlin spokesman Demitry Peskov said Thursday that Moscow will investigate reports that Colonel Anatoliy Chepiga, an alleged Russian military officer, posed as Ruslan Boshirov when he entered Britain earlier this year to allegedly carry out a nerve agent attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury.
“Many people look alike, but I cannot tell you who this citizen who was pointed out in this investigation is,” said Peskov.
He said that Moscow will check claims that Chepiga, 39, had been an honoree of Russian Federation by decree of President Vladimir Putin in 2014 after serving in wars in Chechnya and Ukraine.
The Daily Telegraph and the BBC on Wednesday published reports citing evidences by Bellingcat, a website that covers intelligence matters, reiterating British government claims that Boshirov and Alexander Petrov had used fake passports to travel to Britain and carry out the attack on the orders of the Russian government.
Russia has denied any involvement in the alleged attack, saying the whole story is a fabrication by the British intelligence services to pile more pressure on Russia amid deteriorating relations between Moscow and the West.
Boshirov and Petrov surfaced in an interview two weeks ago to the Russian news channel RT in which they said they were in Britain in March solely for tourism purposes. The interview came after Putin said the two were civilians and had been wrongly accused.
Peskov told reporters that Putin’s designation of the two as civilians were based on current facts and not what they had been up in the past.
“The president said that these people were civilians. Thus, he voiced the information that he had received … You and I know nothing about these people’s past, it is outside our (job) function,” said the Russian official.
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