The editor-in-chief of the Kremlin-backed RT network on Monday appeared to suggest Russia’s involvement in the 2018 poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal in Britain — a crime Moscow has repeatedly denied.
Western countries hit Russia with sanctions and expelled dozens of diplomats following the near-fatal poisonings of Skripal, a former Russian intelligence officer who acted as a double agent for Britain, and his daughter Yulia with a banned nerve agent in the British city of Salisbury.
In a response to the daughter of far-right ideologue Alexander Dugin’s death by car bombing over the weekend, RT chief editor Margarita Simonyan called for vengeance against the alleged perpetrator, who Russia’s FSB security service said fled to Estonia following the attack.
“I am sure we can find professionals willing to admire the famous spires in the vicinity of Tallinn,” Simonyan tweeted — an apparent reference to the alibi of the alleged Skripal poisoners, who told RT shortly after returning to Russia that they had been visiting Salisbury to “admire” its cathedral’s spires.
The tweet is the closest a Russian public figure has come to acknowledging any involvement in the Skripal poisonings.
Media investigations have identified the two men behind the poisonings as Russian military intelligence officers Anatoliy Chepiga and Alexander Mishkin. But the Kremlin has repeatedly said the two men were vacationing in the British city when Skripal was poisoned with the deadly nerve agent Novichok.
The suggestion by Simonyan is the latest example of relations between Russia and the West continuing to deteriorate as a result of Moscow’s invasion of neighboring Ukraine.