Sergei Naryshkin, the head of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), said it was an attempt for Britain to ‘distract the public from the shameful exit from Afghanistan’
A Russian spy chief has accused Britain of lying after another man was charged over the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal.
British police have said a third Russian suspect has been identified in the 2018 Novichok murder attempt on the ex-spy.
Sergei, who sold Russian secrets to the UK, his daughter Yulia and a police officer, Nick Bailey, were exposed to the substance in 2018.
A British woman, Dawn Sturgess, then died after finding a perfume bottle with the poison inside it months later.
In 2018, British prosecutors charged Anatoliy Chepiga, 41, and Alexander Mishkin, 43, with conspiracy to murder Sergei, the attempted murder of his daughter Yulia and the British police officer.
Met Police / SWNS)
This week another Russian was charged in absentia with the attack.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that all three suspects “should be handed over for justice”.
Russia has blasted the accusations and say this is the UK’s attempt at anti-Russian propaganda.
Sergei Naryshkin, the head of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), told Interfax news agency: “This is an attempt to cover up another lie or to support a previous lie.”
He added it was an attempt for Britain to “distract the public from the shameful exit from Afghanistan, primarily by the United States and its allies.”
This week is was revealed that Denis Sergeev, a high-ranking Russian military intelligence officer, travelled to the UK on the same day as the two assassins already named as wanted men.
Met Police / SWNS)
The trio are also suspected of carrying out attacks in the Czech Republic and Bulgaria, Scotland Yard has revealed.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Dean Haydon said: “All three are dangerous individuals who have tried to murder people here in the UK.”
Mr Haydon, the senior national coordinator of counter-terrorism, told a press conference that the men were believed to be part of the elite GRU unit, the main military foreign intelligence service of Russia.
Enterprise News and Pictures)
He said: “Being members of the GRU and Russian military they will be highly trained individuals.”
Sergeev, 50, flew to Heathrow from Moscow using the name Sergey Fedotov on Friday, March 2, 2018, arriving four hours before the other two spies.
He stayed in an unnamed central London hotel for two nights and met the pair before the attack, returning on a flight from Heathrow at 13.45 on Sunday, March 4, Mr Haydon said.
Grab / Russia Today)
The hotel was later tested for the deadly chemical Novichok, but no traces were found, he added.
Chepiga and Mishkin were charged in 2018 with travelling to the UK to carry out the nerve agent attack on Sergei Skripal.
Russia has also repeatedly denied its involvement and President Vladimir Putin, a former KGB foreign intelligence operative, claimed the suspects were civilians and not military officers.