Vladimir Putin answered questions from Russian and foreign journalists following the completion of the presidential election – March 18, 2018
[…] Question: We were closely monitoring the election campaign in Russia. The tragedy with Skripal happened at the height of the election race. How do you see Russia’s future relations with Europe? Is Europe a partner or maybe the main opponent?
Vladimir Putin: Regarding the tragedy you have mentioned, I learned about it from the media. The first thing that comes to mind is that, had it been a warfare agent, the victims would have died immediately. It is an obvious fact, which must be taken into account. This is first.
The second is that Russia does not have such chemical agents. We destroyed all our chemical weapons, and international observers monitored the destruction process. Moreover, we were the first to do this, unlike some of our partners who promised to destroy their chemical weapons but have not done so to this day, regrettably.
Therefore, we are ready for cooperation, as we said immediately. We are ready to take part in any investigations necessary, provided the other side wants this too. We do not see their interest so far, but we have not removed the possibility of cooperation on this matter from the agenda.
As for the overall situation, I believe that any reasonable person can see that this is total nonsense. It is unthinkable that anyone on Russia would do such a thing ahead of the presidential election and the FIFA World Cup. Absolutely unthinkable.
However, we are ready for cooperation despite the above things. We are ready to discuss any issues and to deal with any problems. […]