SMOKING GUN?

Vladimir Putin: Sergei Skripal Is a Scumbag and a Traitor

President Vladimir Putin has condemned Sergei Skripal, the Russian former double-agent who was poisoned with a Soviet-era nerve agent in Britain, as a “scumbag” and a “traitor” who betrayed Russia. “I see that some of your colleagues are pushing the theory that Mr. Skripal was almost some kind of human-rights activist,” Putin said at an energy forum in Moscow. “He was simply a spy. A traitor to the motherland. There is such a concept—a traitor to the motherland. He was one of those. He’s simply a scumbag, that’s all.” Russia denies any involvement in the incident, but the U.K. and investigative-journalism site Bellingcat have produced a raft of evidence linking two Russian intelligence agents to the poisoning. Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, recovered from the incident but one woman died after discovering a bottle of the nerve agent in a park in Salisbury, England.