British defense chief says Russian “attack” led to woman's death

suggested Sturgess’s death was part of an effort to fan tensions between Moscow and Washington ahead of next week’s summit between Putin and U.S. President Donald Trump in Helsinki.

“The circumstances in the Amesbury situation are troubling: recently, such cases emerge ahead of important events,” Aleksandr Shulgin, Russia’s envoy to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, was quoted by the Izvestia newspaper as saying in an interview published 9 July.

“Right now, the final stage of the 2018 World Cup [hosted by Russia] and the summit between Russia and the United States in Helsinki are coming. It’s difficult to shake the feeling that all of this was planned and deliberately thrown out there to inflame world events and damage Russia’s authority and its relations with other countries,” Shulgin added.

Sergei Zheleznyak, a member of the ruling United Russia party, also accused Britain of trying to sully the July 16 summit.

Britain “understands that direct dialogue between the two superpowers is capable of reducing the level of confrontation, gradually raising the level of trust between our countries, and destroying the lies fabricated against Russia,” Zheleznyak said in 9 July comments released by his party.

“That’s not advantageous to Britain’s leadership, and so as we get closer to the talks in Helsinki, we can expect new ‘sensational’ investigations from British authorities, in which a ‘Russian’ link must undoubtedly be identified,” added Zheleznyak, a member of the foreign affairs committee in the lower house of parliament.

Following the poisoning of the Skripals, the Russian government floated an array of unsubstantiated theories about the Skripals’ poisoning in what Britain has criticized as a cynical effort by Moscow to muddy the waters surrounding the investigation.

In a post to Facebook 9 July, Foreign Ministry spokewoman Maria Zakharova linked the poisoning to the resignation of Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who announced he was leaving his post just hours before Williamson spoke. And she suggested the British government was conducting scientific experiments using Novichok.

“It was one thing to carry out experiments on the Skripals, who were Russians, but on their own citizens is a different thing,” she wrote. “They have to answer to their own people, not just make up stories for NATO.”

This article is published courtesy of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty