Estonian MEP Yana Toom (Center/ALDE) has stepped up in defense of Russia in the controversy over the poisoning of Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal in the U.K. in early March, accusing London of fanning anti-Russian hysteria.
"The story about the poisoning of Skripal once again reaffirms what I said on the broadcast 'Sunday Night with Vladimir Solovyov' three weeks ago: namely, London has become the center from which anti-Russian hysteria in the US is being fanned," Toom said on social media.
"Russia obviously had no operational interest in Skripal, who was convicted in 2006 and deprived of his military rank, who was pardoned in 2010 and then exchanged," Toom continued. "Even if we presume that the Russians have gone irreversibly crazy — which specifically is what one is attempting to convince Europeans of — and are an embodiment of irrational evil, a demonstrative poisoning with Russian poison a week before the Russian presidential election would be idiocy."
If Special Services wanted to kill someone, they would leave no trace, Toom said. "And a task like this is more than accomplishable in London — it is not the most peaceful city in the world," she noted. "Leaving so many traces was possible only when done for a specific purpose. And I can't think of any that would be beneficial for Russia."
This did, however, offer London and Washington a pretext to talk about further sanctions and ultimatums, according to the MEP.
"Theresa May, who is being cornered by Brexit negotiators step by step, is desperately searching for 'value-added' for London, and the role of a shield 'between two hostile camps' is perfectly suited for this," Toom said.
"And the fact that the Russians were denied access to the substance that was used to poison changes nothing — Russia lost the media war in the West without entering it," Toom argued. "I agree with Alexei Semyonov — Russia did not show up in the media battle. Which in general confirms my version — if they were the ones that poisoned Skripal, they would have showed up for the battle fully armed."
Russia has resolutely rejected claims by British Prime Minister Theresa May that Moscow was likely behind the March 4 poisoning of Skripal and his daughter Yulia, as the chemical weapon used, Novichok, has only ever been produced in Russia.
Moscow has rejected London's demands to be provided access to details of the Novichok nerve gas program by midnight Tuesday night, seeking access to materials of the British investigation instead. Both sides have promised retaliatory measures.
Editor: Aili Vahtla