Russian state TV accuses UK of plotting spy attack
Sergei Skripal Russian state TV accuses UK of plotting spy attack
Anchor claims attack was meant to fuel âRussophobiaâ and as a pretext for World Cup boycott
A leading Russian state news anchor has suggested Britain masterminded the poisoning of the former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, in Salisbury.
In a nationwide broadcast watched by millions, Dmitry Kiselyov, the anchor for the flagship Russia 24 news broadcast, Vesti Nedeli, said Skripal could have been sacrificed as a pretext for an international boycott of the 2018 World Cup.
âWhy not poison him?â said Kiselyov. âIs he so valuable? And do it with his daughter to turn it into a real tear-jerker for the public.â
Russian state media broadcasts do not always perfectly reflect the opinions of the Kremlin. However, television station heads work in close collaboration with the government.Salisbury spy attack: May likely to blame Russia, Tory MP says Read more
The remarks came before a meeting of the UKâs national security council on Monday morning to discuss the response to events in Salisbury, amid speculation that Theresa May is facing pressure from some ministers to take a tough line if it is decided that Russia was behind the 4 March nerve agent attack in Salisbury that has left Skripal, 66, and his daughter, 33, in critical condition.
Before Mondayâs meeting, Tom Tugendhat, who chairs the Commons foreign affairs committee, told the BBC that the poisoning looked âlike it was state-sponsored attempted murderâ.
Kiselyov is sometimes referred to as âPutinâs chief propagandistâ and been rewarded for his coverage with a primetime news broadcast and the leadership of Russiaâs RIA Novosti news agency.
He is best known for telling viewers in March 2014 that Russia was the only country in the world that could turn the US into âradioactive ashâ. Days later he was hit with EU sanctions tied to Russiaâs annexation of Crimea.
In the broadcast on Sunday night, he said the poisoning of Skripal and his daughter was advantageous to the British, and would âstimulate their Russophobiaâ.
The poisoning âcreates a lot of possibilities, like an international boycott of the World Cupâ, being held in Russia this June, Kiselyov said. âItâs the perfect special operation.â
On Monday the Kremlinâs spok esman, Dmitry Peskov, again denied Russia had any ties to the Skripal poisoning. It âhappened on British territory, and in no way is a question for the Russian federation, or its leadershipâ, he said.
Despite official denials, Russian state television broadcasters have issued not-so-veiled threats about the dangers of settling in England, where a number of high-profile Moscow critics have died in recent years under suspicious circumstances.
âWhatever the reasons, whether youâre a professional traitor to the motherland or you just hate your country in your spare time, I repeat, no matter, donât move to England,â the presenter Kirill Kleymenov said during a news programme on Channel One last week.
âSomething is not right there. Maybe itâs the climate. But in recent years there have been too many strange incidents with a grave outcome,â he said.
Kiselyov on Sunday called England a âdeadly placeâ. In the broadcast, a reporter s uggested that the poison used in the attack on Skripal could have been produced at the British military facility Porton Down, near Salisbury.
âThey immediately tried to pin it on Russia,â Kiselyov said. âBut if you think about it closely, the only people who stand to gain from the poisoning of the former GRU colonel are the British. Just to stimulate their Russophobia.â
In a documentary film about Putin advertised during Kiselyovâs programme, an interviewer asked if there is anything the Russian president canât forgive. âBetrayal,â he replied.Topics
- Sergei Skripal
- UK security and counter-terrorism
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