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Russian media reacts to Amesbury novichok poisoning with disbelief and accusations

Russia Today claims poisoning incident is being used to fuel 'another wave of anti-Russian hysteria'

Oliver Wheaton
Friday 06 July 2018 11:13 BST
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Amesbury victim Dawn Sturgess seen on CCTV day before Novichok exposure

Russian media has acted with incredulity at the recent novichok poisonings, with several saying the UK has orchestrated the attack to fuel anti-Russian sentiment.

Newspapers in the country have entertained other conspiracy theories and vehemently denied Russia was involved in the poisoning of Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley in Amesbury.

Russia Today, which is funded by the Russian government, claimed the Amesbury incident was fuelling "another wave of anti-Russian hysteria".

The publication also referenced Cold War-era US senator Joseph McCarthy, saying the poisonings have given Britain "a perfect reason for launching another McCarthian witch hunt on dissent".

It also accused the UK of "Russiaphobia" by presuming Moscow might be behind this incident when the investigation had only just begun.

Tass, a Kremlin-owned news agency, reported that Russia is calling for the British Government "to put an end to dwelling upon conspiracies involving poisonous substances".

News agency Sputnik, which is also backed by the Kremlin, wrote: "Despite police uncertainty, and just a few hours after the story broke, newspapers began comparing Amesbury to the Skripal case, whose poisoning the UK media and British government blamed on Russia, despite the fact that no evidence of Moscow's involvement has ever been presented."

In a statement, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova urged UK authorities "not to hamper the investigation into what happened to the Russian citizens in Britain".

However she had harsher words while talking independently to Tass, saying: "Despite all the mud-slinging against our country ahead of the World Cup, it is now hard to concoct any fables any longer, because indeed the whole world sees everything with their own eyes.

"The UK prime minister has turned up the volume, voicing her concerns about the safety of English fans in Russia. She had better think about the safety of British subjects within her own country.

"The fans are doing fine here, so don't worry. You can come and see with your own eyes."

Ms Sturgess and Mr Rowley are thought to have been poisoned by remnants of the toxin used in the attempted assassination of Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury four months ago.

The pair remain in hospital.

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