Russian president Vladimir Putin has branded former Russian spy Sergei Skripal, who is at the centre of Salisbury poisoning row, a “scumbag” and a traitor while speaking at an energy forum in Moscow today.

“…He is just a spy, a traitor to the motherland … Imagine: you are a citizen of your own country and all of a sudden there is a person who betrays his motherland. How would you treat him? He is just a scumbag, that is all,” Putin said.

Putin added that he thought the “hubbub” around the case would eventually die down: “As is well known, espionage, just like prostitution, is one of the world’s most important professions. Nobody’s ever shut it down, or is in a position to now.”

Skripal and his daughter were found unconscious on a bench in Salisbury early this year after being attacked with Novichuck.

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