When asked on camera if Moscow was to blame, the Russian President smiled a little before side-stepping the question.
He then told Britain to ‘get to the bottom of things there first’ when asked about the nerve agent attack in Salisbury which left the former double agent and daughter Yulia in a critical condition.
Theresa May said last night it was ‘highly likely’ Russia was involved in the ‘reckless and despicable’ poisoning of the 66-year-old and his 33-year-old daughter.
But Putin’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov this morning insisted Russia ‘is not to blame’ and said he had asked for samples of the nerve agent – a request he claimed had been ‘denied’.
Meanwhile, the Kremlin’s Foreign Ministry has summoned British Ambassador Laurie Bristow amid a deepening war of words between the two countries.
Footage captured the moment Vladimir Putin smirked after being asked whether Russia was responsible for the poisoning of spy Sergei Skripal
The Russian president told Britain to ‘get to the bottom of things there first’ when asked about the nerve agent attack in Salisbury
Sergei Skripal (left) and his daughter Yulia (right) have been in a critical condition since they were found unconscious on a bench outside a shopping centre in Salisbury on March 4
Branding the attack a ‘reckless and despicable act’ last night, Mrs May said the substance used was a ‘military grade’ nerve agent Russia has produced and demanded answers from the Kremlin by midnight tonight
Police have put a forensics tent over the parking meter outside Salisbury’s Sainsbury’s store amid fears it was used by Sergei Skripal
Locals have said chemical weapons experts are removing a potentially contaminated vehicle from a local business
Before the Prime Minister’s remarks yesterday, Putin was asked by BBC reporter Steve Rosenberg whether Russia was responsible for the assassination attempt.
A smiling Putin replied: ‘Listen, we are dealing with agriculture here and as you can see our aim it to create living conditions for people – and you are talking about some tragedies. Get to the bottom of things there first, then we’ll discuss this.’
Putin’s brief comment came after security sources said Skripal was poisoned by a rare nerve agent that only a few laboratories in the world could have produced – one of which, the source said, was the Yasenevo lab, run by Russia’s SVR spy service on the outskirts of Moscow.
This morning, Lavrov said he had asked for access to samples of the nerve agent that poisoned Skripal and his daughter adding that Russia was ‘not to blame’.
He warned that Russia will only co-operate with Britain on the investigation if it receives samples of the substance that is believed to have been used.
But Lavrov said that Moscow’s requests to see samples of the nerve agent have been turned down, which he called a violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention, which outlaws the production of chemical weapons.
It comes after Putin‘s chief propagandist suggested Britain poisoned Skripal as part of a bid to ‘to feed their Russophobia’ and engineer a boycott of the World Cup.
‘It’s like blaming Moscow over any death with a Kalashnikov’: Russian media reacts to nerve agent storm
Blaming Russia for the nerve agent poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia was like accusing Moscow over any death with a Kalashnikov gun, said Vladimir Putin’s Channel One TV.
Presenter of ‘Vremya’ news Kirill Kleymyonov, showed a clip of Theresa May making her statement to parliament and followed it with a stinging comment.
‘What does it mean that the chemical was made on Russian territory and therefore Russia is behind this attempted murder? Impeccable logic!
‘England’s been famous for it since Sherlock Holmes.
Blaming Russia for the nerve agent poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury (pictured) was like accusing Moscow over any death with a Kalashnikov gun, said Vladimir Putin’s Channel One TV
‘So if anyone, God forbid, used a Kalashnikov in an attempted murder, there would even have been no need to waste time investigating – just summon the ambassador straight away and impose sanctions.’
The report then highlighted Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova’s comment describing May’s statement as ‘a circus show in the British parliament’.
Britain has turned into Russia’s toughest foe in the West, the Moscow media said today commenting on Theresa May’s midnight deadline.
Kommersant newspaper was one of the few newspapers to frontage the story.
The headline ran: ‘And the poison followed him’ with the strap: ‘Theresa May named the substance which poisoned Sergey Skripal and where it was made.’
The newspaper told its readers: ‘London will be ready to go to any extremes regardless to what degree Western allies will support it…’
The Skripal case ‘is developing in an extremely negative way’ and ‘may turn London into the toughest opponent to Moscow in the West, a role the USA is playing for now.
Presenter of ‘Vremya’ news Kirill Kleymyonov, showed a clip of Theresa May (pictured) making her statement to parliament and followed it with a stinging comment
‘The situation is developing in such a way that Britons will turn out to be the last in the West who will be ready to reconcile with Russia.’
Vedomosti business newspaper said Russo-British relations ‘which have reached rock bottom …risk souring even more’.
Official Kremlin newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta warned: ‘London has at once jumped on the incident with firm resolve to reap as many political dividends against Russia as possible.
‘Long before the investigation is over, the incident has rapidly become high-profile at the behest of politicians and has outshone all other topics on the front pages of local newspaper
‘London has already named who to blame…’ – Russia.
Popular daily Moskovsky Komsomolets took up the allegation that MI5 or MI6 were to blame for the poisoning in an echo of charges made in the Alexander Litvinenko case.
‘It is quite possible that the incident is an operation by the British special services or a favour to the British special services done by their friendly colleagues,’ said pundit Alexei Mukhin.
‘As for now, the developments are advantageous to Theresa May and the British special services, which lately have been very actively dealing with Russian oligarchs who reside at the UK territory, aiming to ‘milk money’ from them…
‘I will not accuse anyone and will not say who in particular are doing this because I do not want to wake up with polonium in my pockets.
‘But it is England alone, who benefits from such actions.
‘For Russia, actions like this are absolutely disadvantageous…’
RBC reported factually: ‘London gives 24 hours to eliminate toxicity.’
Police officers work at a supermarket near the bench where former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found poisoned
Meanwhile state-run Sputnik cited The Times in saying the UK could launch a cyber war on Russia.
RIA Novosti news agency reported secret services veteran Igor Morozov, now a senator, as saying : ‘Russia has not only stopped producing nerve agents, including Novichok, but also completely destroyed all its stockpiles.
‘It was done in accordance with international agreements under the supervision of international observers from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
The last batch of chemical agents was destroyed in Russia in September 2017, while their production was stopped in the 1990s, he said.
Morozov admitted that any secret production of novichok would be ‘dangerous but possible’ and would require ‘laboratory conditions, special equipment and specialists’.
Another parliamentarian, Vladimir Dzhabarov, insisted Russia has destroyed chemical weapons and ‘has never deceived its partners’ Interfax reported.
Putin crony Dmitry Kiselyov, a top presenter on Russian state television, today said ‘only the British stand to benefit’ from the incident – apparently suggesting the UK may have targeted the Skripals.
The 63-year-old, who hosts Vesti Nedeli (News of the Week) on the official state-owned channel Rossiya 1, spoke in front of an image of Big Ben with words translating as ‘death trap’ written next to it.
The Prominent Russian media personality is quoted as saying: ‘Clearly, they instantly started to blame Russia but if one thinks it through, the only ones for whom former GRU colonel’s poisoning is good for are the Brits. Simply to feed their Russophobia.
He claimed that ‘as a source’ Skripal ‘was no longer interesting’ but added that ‘as a victim of poisoning’ he was ‘useful’.
‘Why not poison him? There is no pity. Together with his daughter so that it’s more heart-wrenching for the public.
Vladimir Putin’s chief propagandist Dmitry Kiselyov (pictured) has has suggested Britain poisoned Sergei Skripal as part of a bid to ‘to feed their Russophobia’ and engineer a boycott of the World Cup
Putin crony Dmitry Kiselyov, a top presenter on Russian state television, today said ‘only the British stand to benefit’ from the incident – apparently suggesting the UK may have targeted the Skripals
‘Then there are lots of opportunities, including organising an international boycott of the World Cup in Russia. An excellent special operation.
‘Skripal as cheap raw material – and let Russia find the excuses.’
Theresa May dramatically pointed the finger at Vladimir Putin last night over the nerve gas attack.
The Prime Minister said the facts increasingly suggested Russia was behind the apparent ‘hit’ on Skripal.
What action could Britain take against Russia if the Kremlin is shown to be behind the poison spy plot?
Britain could expel Russia’s ambassador and other diplomats based at the embassy in Kensington Palace Gardens – round the corner from where Prince William and Kate live.
If MI5 hav