Vladimir Putin says claim Russia poisoned spy in Salisbury is ‘complete drivel’

Vladimir Putin has dismissed allegations that Russia poisoned former spy Sergei Skripal as ‘complete drivel’ and ‘nonsense’.

However, the Russian president, who has won the election granting him a fourth term in office, said he is willing to work with London on the probe.

Putin’s first comments on the poisoning of Skripal and his daughter Yulia came after he earned a resounding victory in Russia’s presidential election.

Theresa May previously said it is ‘highly likely’ Russia was responsible for the attack that left the Skripals and police officer Nick Bailey ill in hospital.

Putin said: ‘It’s complete drivel, rubbish, nonsense that somebody in Russia would allow themselves to do such a thing ahead of elections and the World Cup.’

If the prime minister’s claim that Russia developed the nerve agent was true, people would have died instantly, Putin claimed.

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He also said that Russia has ‘destroyed all chemical weapons’.

The president went on to ease international tensions by indicating he would work alongside the British Government.

He added: ‘We are ready to take part in the investigation.’

Earlier on Sunday, it was revealed that Putin would start a fourth six-year term as leader after a landslide win in the election.

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However, the vote was marred by allegations of ballot stuffing, while a group of activists protested outside London’s Russian Embassy.

Putin gained at least 73.9% of votes, according to exit polls.

Opposition leader Alexei Navalny had boycotted the presidential election and advised other Russians to do the same.

Mr Navalny was barred from the campaign because of a criminal conviction widely seen as politically motivated.

In his absence, Putin’s most notable opponent was 36-year-old TV star Ksenia Sobchak, who was the only candidate to openly criticise the president.

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