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21 Mar, 2018 22:49

Skripal was of ‘zero value’ to Russia after spy swap, so why poison him? – Kremlin spokesman

Poisoned double-agent Sergei Skripal was of zero value to Moscow after he was handed over by Russia to Britain, Dmitry Peskov, President Putin’s press-secretary, said in an exclusive interview with RT.

The press-secretary also pointed out that Russia had no motive to target Skripal, who was found unconscious with his daughter in Salisbury earlier in March. Britain is accusing Russia of poisoning them with a Soviet-era nerve agent.

“He was handed in to Britain as a result of an exchange. So, why should Russia hand in a man that is of any importance or that is of any value? It’s unimaginable. If he’s handed in – so Russia quits with him. He’s of zero value or zero importance,” Peskov said, referring to a “spy swap” in which Russia released four British spies, including Skripal, in exchange for 10 Russian agents. He also said that Skripal should be called “British spy” as he worked for the MI6 intelligence agency. “He is a Russian citizen, but he is not a Russian spy,” he said.

Peskov also said that the UK authorities were too hasty in blaming Russia without carrying out any investigation into the attack. “The first accusations came from politicians just a couple of hours after the accident... that ‘highly likely, Russia was responsible of that attempt of murder.’ And now we see the words of experts… from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons that say that the preliminary examination of this agent will take about three weeks. Is it contradictory? Yes, it is.”

He cited Putin, who said on the matter “we are not as crazy as to even to think about something of that kind [poisoning Skripal] before a presidential election [on March 18] and before such an important global event as the football championship [in summer]."

RT persecuted for threatening US, UK global ‘brainwash monopoly’

The crackdown on RT in the US and UK is a response to the broadcaster becoming a worthy rival to the British and American media’s global brainwash monopoly, Peskov said.

British and American media have started to “rule the word” in recent decades, Peskov said. “They are the most powerful; they are the most influential and they have the widest possible reach globally. And, of course, this feeling of monopoly, it brings a will to manipulate this monopoly.”

Washington and London have been using this media monopoly as a “tool” to deliver their point of view “whether it's right or wrong – it doesn’t matter, you can adjust it in accordance with the situation – to simply manipulate the brains of people throughout the world,” he said.

“And this is why they strongly oppose the appearance of any rivals, even small rivals like RT – in comparison with this huge machine,” Peskov said. He specified that he meant no disrespect by calling RT “small,” jokingly adding that: “I sincerely believe that size doesn't matter here.”

“You can be small, but you can do much more influential things. That is what you (RT) are doing. And that what makes them nervous because you are pretending to be a rival for them and this rivalry can ruin the system of brainwash,” the presidential press-secretary explained.

RT and Sputnik news agency were forced to register as foreign agents in the US last year. British MPs have also called for RT to have its UK broadcasting license revoked after the poisoning of double agent Sergei Skripal in Salisbury in early March, which London blames on Moscow.

Speaking with RT’s Sophie Shevardnadze, Dmitry Peskov touched upon some of the key issues facing Russia, ranging from the Skripal poisoning case to global nuclear deterrence. Tune in on Friday, March 23, to watch the interview in full.