News ID: 230866
Published: 0209 GMT September 05, 2018

Kremlin says puzzled by UK decision to name Skripal case suspects

Kremlin says puzzled by UK decision to name Skripal case suspects
A view of the Russian Foreign Ministry building in Smolenskaya Square

Kremlin aide Sergei Ushakov said on Wednesday that it was hard to understand what Britain was trying to signal to Moscow by naming two men it suspected of poisoning former Russian agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.

British prosecutors on Wednesday charged two Russians for the attempted murder of the Skripals with a nerve agent, naming suspects for the first time in a case that has caused one of the biggest East-West rifts in decades, Reuters reported.

“We have heard or seen two names, these names mean nothing to me personally,” Ushakov told reporters in Moscow.

“Especially since Scotland Yard has said these names were apparently aliases. I don’t understand why this was done and what sort of signal the British side is sending. It is difficult to understand.”

British prosecutors named two Russians — Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov — who they said had tried to murder the Skripals with a military-grade nerve agent in England.

The names of the two men “do not mean anything to us,” RIA cited the Foreign Ministry as saying.

British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Wednesday the nerve agent attack on the Russian former agent and his daughter was probably a message to other Russians living overseas.

“I suspect that they wanted to give a message to those Russians who were living elsewhere who had been involved in matters relating to the Russian state,” May told Parliament. “But it is up to the Russians to explain what happened in Salisbury.”

Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia, 33, were found unconscious on a bench outside a shopping center in Salisbury on March 4, after they were poisoned with what London said was a Russian-made nerve agent.

Moscow denied any involvement and suggested Britain had carried out the attack to stoke anti-Russian hysteria.

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