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Traitors must be punished but Salisbury incident is not the way to go – Putin on Skripal affair

Traitors must be punished but Salisbury incident is not the way to go – Putin on Skripal affair
Treason is the “gravest crime possible,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an exclusive FT interview ahead of the G20. But he maintained that Russia had no reason to poison the Skripals and had no hand in that incident.

As concerns treason, of course, it must be punishable. It is the most despicable crime that one can imagine,” Putin said. At the same time, he made it clear that the poisoning of the former double agent Sergei Skirpal and his daughter Yulia, which took place in the British town of Salisbury back in March 2018 and was blamed on Russia by London, is definitely “not the way to do it.”

The president explained that the former Russian intelligence colonel already received his punishment under Russian law as he served his time in prison and was therefore “off the radar.”

He reiterated that this whole affair had little to do with Russia, while maintaining that London has failed to present any sufficient proof of Moscow’s alleged guilt to the public till this day.

“They say, ‘You poisoned the Skripals.’ Firstly, this must be proved.”

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The scandal surrounding this case did much more harm than good as it soured relations between Russia and the UK damaging economic ties while contributing virtually nothing to the investigation of the real causes of this incident, he said.

“All this fuss about spies and counterspies, it is not worth serious interstate relations … We need to just leave it alone and let security agencies deal with it.”

These spy scandals made our relations reach a deadlock so we could not develop our ties normally and support business people,” he said. The UK is interested in fully restoring bilateral relations, just as Russia is, Putin stated. “At least I hope that a few preliminary steps will be made.”

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