‘They’d be dead’: Ukraine ambassador dismisses claims that Russia poisoned negotiators

Russia: Prystaiko dismisses claims of poisoning at peace talks

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Asked if he believed that Ukrainian delegates had been targeted, Mr Prystaiko said that a similar form of attack “will come” from the Russians but that, in this instance, it was unlikely to have taken place. He added that he “can’t feel protected” from Vladimir Putin despite personal security because the leader has launched such a large-scale offensive against Ukraine that he will stop at nothing to achieve his aims.

Responding to a question to Sky News on The Kay Burley Show on the poisoning, Vadym Prystaiko said: “Frankly speaking, if Russia wanted them to be poisoned to death, they would be dead by now.

“Remember how people drank polonium here. How the Skripal family was poisoned, and how so many people suffer it around us.”

Mr Prystaiko was referencing the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, who were targeted in Salisbury in 2018.

Mr Skripal was a former Russian military officer and a double agent for British intelligence services who was believed to have been poisoned with a Novichok nerve agent by Russian officers.  

Issuing warnings for the future, however, Prystaiko said that eventually, an attack like this will occur.

He added: “I believe that it will come, sooner or later Russians will do something like that.

“People are asking me, for example, if I am secure here, and if I have protection. But I believe we can’t feel protected anywhere around the globe.

“Russians are engaged in such a scaled aggression against Ukraine and actually against the whole world.”

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Russia has used poisoning tactics throughout the 21st century to target defectors and dissidents, some of which have fled to the UK.

On November 1, 2006, a former member of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) and KBG officer Alexander Litvinenko was admitted to hospital in the UK after suddenly falling ill.

He died three weeks later and became the first confirmed fatal victim of polonium poisoning, a lethal radioactive substance, six years after fleeing Russia.

Litvinenko had made allegations about misdeeds of the FSB following his defection to the UK and on his deathbed accused Putin of orchestrating the attack on him.

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Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, who was enlisted by Kyiv to help broker peace between the two nations, experienced symptoms suggestive of poisoning for several hours at the start of March.

Alongside two Ukrainian delegates, he experienced temporary blindness and skin peeling off his face.

But the Chelsea FC owner has since returned to the negotiating table, pictured in Istanbul at the resumption of the talks between Russia and Ukraine on Monday.

He flew to Moscow to meet with Putin last week, where he reportedly handed a letter to the leader from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

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