News anchor Dmitry Kiselyov said the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter would benefit the British authorities. Photo: Getty Images
A leading Russian state news anchor has suggested Britain masterminded the poisoning of the former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, in Salisbury.
In a nationwide broadcast watched by millions, Dmitry Kiselyov, the anchor for the flagship Russia 24 news broadcast, Vesti Nedeli, said Skripal could have been sacrificed as a pretext for an international boycott of the 2018 World Cup.
“Why not poison him?” said Kiselyov. “Is he so valuable? And do it with his daughter to turn it into a real tear-jerker for the public.”
Russian state media broadcasts do not always perfectly reflect the opinions of the Kremlin. However, television station heads work in close collaboration with the government.
The remarks came before a meeting of the UK’s national security council on Monday morning to discuss the response to events in Salisbury, amid speculation that Theresa May is facing pressure from some ministers to take a tough line if it is decided that Russia was behind the 4 March nerve agent attack in Salisbury that has left Skripal, 66, and his daughter, 33, in critical condition.
Before Monday’s meeting, Tom Tugendhat, who chairs the Commons foreign affairs committee, told the BBC that the poisoning looked “like it was state-sponsored attempted murder”.
Kiselyov is sometimes referred to as “Putin’s chief propagandist” and been rewarded for his coverage with a primetime news broadcast and the leadership of Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency.
He is best known for telling viewers in March 2014 that Russia was the only country in the world that could turn the US into “radioactive ash”. Days later he was hit with EU sanctions tied to Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
Source: The Guardian