A Russian MP has compared the UK to Hitler after Theresa May accused Moscow of being behind the poisoning of a former double agent and his daughter in Salisbury.
Vitaly Milonov condemned the Prime Minister’s claim that it was “highly likely” Russia was behind the use of a nerve agent to poison Sergei Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia, 33, who remain in hospital in a critical condition.
In an extraordinary claim to the BBC that led to him being taken off air, Milonov claimed the British government was responsible for the attack and was pushing a “fantasy” for blaming Russia.
“They had to make this fantasy. They had to kill this poor pensioner, useless for us. This is a drama for British TV,” Milonov told BBC Radio Four’s Today programme.
“It’s a behaviour of Hitler when he blamed someone for the burning of the Reichstag.”
Earlier in the exchange, Milonov had called Skripal a “useless fake agent” and said the poisoning was “fake news” that was “nothing to do with Russia really”.
The MP, from the ruling United Russia party, said: “Theresa May and her colleagues have created a fake story.”
On Monday, May said Russia’s ambassador in London had been summoned to the Foreign Office to explain whether the attack was “a direct action by the Russian state” or the result of the Russian Government “losing control” of its stock of nerve agents.
She gave Russia until midnight on Tuesday to provide a “credible” response.
May said the military grade agent was produced in the Soviet Union, but Milonov blamed Ukraine, “or other fake countries”.
He then called Radek Sikorski, the former Polish foreign secretary he was on air alongside, a “Polish prostitute”. Sikorski responded: “I think [Milonov] gave the best witness to his own character.”
“I don’t think the prime minister would say what she said in the House of Commons without strong evidence,” Sikorski added.
Listeners were stunned by Milonov’s appearance on the Today programme. Labour MP Mike Gapes asked whether the BBC knew before it invited Milonov to speak that he had a history of “anti-semitism and homophobia”.
In 2014, Milonov allegedly attacked “neoliberals” who had a “2,000-year-old tradition” of attacking Christianity, dating back to their “calls for the Saviour to be crucified”, which was interpreted as anti-semitic. A devout Orthodox Christian, Milonov has also lashed out at “gay propaganda”.
On Monday evening, the Russian Foreign Ministry mocked May by tweeting a video that jokes it was also “highly likely” Russia caused Britain’s recent bad weather.