Russian president Vladimir Putin has hit out at Britain for blaming “all their mortal sins” on Russia, saying undue accusations have been placed at Moscow’s door for everything from Brexit to the Skripal poisoning and the downing of MH17.
He scoffed at suggestions that Russian hackers have been interfering in state affairs, saying this was “not in line with our policy”. “They now blame Russia for Brexit… again, tosh. We have nothing to do with it whatsoever. This is the inner matter of the UK,” Mr Putin said.
“And I guess we can suspect that those who wanted the UK to leave the EU are Russian agents,” he added, noting that UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson was among those campaigning to leave the European Union.
“If they want to worsen their relationships with Russia they can blame all their mortal sins on us and this is actually the case nowadays,” Mr Putin said.
“Brexit, and Catalonia and the Skripal case, God knows what – and this plane again.” Mr Putin was speaking to the heads of international news agencies – including Press Association chief executive Clive Marshall – on the margins of the St Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF).
International investigators concluded earlier this week that a Russian military unit was responsible for firing the missile which brought down Flight MH17 over war-torn eastern Ukraine nearly four years ago.
Britain has now backed international calls by the likes of the Netherlands and Australia for Moscow to be held accountable for the event – which killed all 298 people on board.
In a statement, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said the incident – which claimed the lives of 10 British nationals – was “an egregious example of the Kremlin’s disregard for innocent life”.
Fully support Australian and Dutch request to Russia to accept state responsibility for its role in the downing of flight MH17. Vital Russia now cooperates to deliver justice for victims of this tragedy, which killed 298 people including 10 Brits.
But Mr Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov rejected the findings, saying Russia had been barred from taking part in the investigation and did not trust its results. The Russian defence ministry said the missile involved “more than likely” came from Ukrainian arsenals.