Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman denied Kremlin involvement in assassinations and poisonings of Russian dissidents after President Donald Trump said that Putin was “probably” involved in directing them.
“I wouldn’t make the assessment that Trump allowed that possibility and so on, as we’re reading in many media reports,” the spokesman said, according to Latvian-based news site Meduza. “Here you’ve got to be very flexible with how you read the linguistic properties. It’s clear that there couldn’t have been a different answer.”
The spokesman’s statement implies Trump misspoke or was misinterpreted. Russia has consistently denied any involvement in the poisonings of former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in early March outside of London. Both survived the attack, but a British woman died and another person became ill after coming in contact with the nerve agent in the same area.
The Trump administration expelled 60 Russian diplomats and closed a consulate in Seattle as part of a coordinated response by Western allies following the attacks.
On 60 Minutes Sunday night, Trump argued that the poisonings occurred overseas, but the Washington Post reports that this mysterious attack is not at an isolated incident, and at least one Putin critic’s death occurred in the United States. Mikhail Lesin, a former ally of Putin, was found dead in Washington D.C. in 2015. The death was originally ruled an accident, but BuzzFeed News reports some intelligence officials question this conclusion.