Most Russians don’t believe their country is complicit in Skripal poisoning, poll shows.“We know how some mechanisms that you consider to be ‘reliable’ worked in Syria: it was a total fake,” he added, referring to the Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which was tasked with investigating the instances of the alleged chemical weapons used in Syria. Russia has repeatedly criticized the JIM for failing to produce objective reports on chemical attacks, including the April 2017 incident in the village Khan Shaykhun. It also slammed the probe for relying on cherry-picked facts and accounts by partisan sources.
According to research conducted in late March by state-run polling agency VTSIOM, a total of 82 percent of Russian citizens are aware of the incident that left Skripal and his daughter Yulia in a critical condition.
Of those who are familiar with the matter, only three percent believe the theory favoured by British authorities and the mainstream media that the poisoning was a result of an assassination attempt by Russian special services.
Nine percent think the poisoning was an accident, 17 percent believe the incident was the act of criminals unconnected with politics. One percent think that what happened to the ex-spy and his daughter was an attempted suicide.
The largest share of respondents – 38 percent – are convinced that the poisoning had been planned and perpetrated by enemies of the Russian state.
Of those who think that the poisoning was a premeditated attack, 81 percent also think that the crime would never be solved.
Earlier this month, British authorities said that former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were allegedly poisoned by what was described as a Soviet-era nerve agent. London immediately accused Russia of ordering and organizing the attack, and expelled 23 Russian diplomats as part of related sanctions.
Russia continues to insist on its non-complicity in the incident. Russian authorities have repeatedly requested access to the evidence in the case, including samples of the poison, but so far all these requests have been denied. In reply to the expulsion of its diplomatic staff from the UK, Russia also expelled 23 British diplomats.
The Western countries have never presented proper evidence to substantiate their claims in any of the recent high-profile international incidents, including the downing of the Malaysia Airlines jet over Eastern Ukraine or the alleged instances of the use of chemical weapons in Syria. They, however, always treated their own statements as “ultimate truth,” the Director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Department for Nonproliferation & Arms Control, Vladimir Ermakov, said at a meeting with the representatives of foreign embassies in Moscow.
His words come in response to yet more accusations and threats issued by western countries in relation to the poisoning of the former Russian double-agent, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter. Although the ambassadors from the UK, France and the US did not bother to attend the meeting with the Russian Foreign Ministry’s officials over the Skripal case, they sent their representatives with harshly worded statements. A US representative warned that Washington “will hold Russia accountable for its illegal actions,” reiterating that the US stands in complete solidarity with UK.