- Sergei Skripal and his daughter were taken ill on Sunday after being exposed to a mystery substance.
- In the year Skripal was granted asylum in Britain, Vladimir Putin issued a chilling threat to traitors.
- The clip has resurfaced as investigators examine Skripal’s collapse.
A chilling clip of Russian President Vladimir Putin threatening traitor spies has resurfaced from 2010, prompting speculation that the suspected poisoning of former double-spy Sergei Skripal was linked to the Kremlin.
Putin made the threat the year Skripal, who was jailed for passing Russian state secrets to British intelligence in exchange for $US100,000 (£72,000), was granted asylum in Britain after a spy exchange between Russia and the US.
“Traitors will kick the bucket,” Putin says in the video. “Trust me. These people betrayed their friends, their brothers in arms. Whatever they got in exchange for it, those thirty pieces silver they were given, they will choke on them.”
BBC Newsnight resurfaced the clip on Tuesday night while reporting on the alleged poisoning of 66-year-old Skripal and his daughter, Yulia.
Watch the footage below:
Skripal and his daughter Yulia collapsed on a bench at a south England shopping centre on Sunday after being exposed to a mystery substance.
The cause of the Skripals’ illness remains unclear. The Sun reported that military scientists working on the case believe the father and daughter might have been poisoned with a “hybrid” kind of thallium, a hard-to-trace heavy metal.
Whitehall sources told The Times on Tuesday night that UK intelligence was treating the suspected poisoning as an assassination attempt linked to Russia.
However, Russia has denied any knowledge of the case.
On Tuesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called the incident “a tragic situation,” but denied knowing any information about the case. He added that Russia would be ready to cooperate with the investigation if asked.
The Russian embassy in London accused British journalists of vilifying Russia by linking the suspected poisoning to Russia.
The denial did little to stop Boris Johnson stoking the flames of speculation on Tuesday. The UK Foreign Secretary threatened to “respond appropriately and robustly” if evidence emerged of Russia’s involvement in the Skripal case.
British counterterror police are leading the investigation into Skripal’s suspected poisoning. They have not declared the case a terrorist incident but said they were “keeping an open mind as to what happened.”