Russia accuses UK of using Skripal poisoning to sabotage ties

·1 min read

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia accused Britain on Tuesday of using the poisoning case of former double agent Sergei Skripal as a tool to deliberately sabotage UK-Russia ties and stoke anti-Russian sentiment in the media and among the British public.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova made the remarks after British police said a third Russian had been charged in absentia with the 2018 Novichok murder attempt on Skripal and that the three suspects were military intelligence operatives.

Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found unconscious, slumped on a public bench in the southern English city of Salisbury in March 2018. They and a police officer who went to his house were left critically ill in hospital from exposure to the military-grade nerve agent.

"For more than two and a half years, the British authorities have been using the Salisbury incident to deliberately complicate our bilateral relations," Zakharova told a news conference.

"The leadership of the United Kingdom continues to use the Skripals as a tool to pressure our country and to stir up anti-Russian sentiment in British society..."

Zakharova denied Russian involvement in the incident and said Moscow condemned attempts by London to hold Russia responsible for it and called for what she called an objective investigation into the incident.

(Reporting by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber, Polina Devitt and Tom Balmforth; Editing by Andrew Osborn)

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