The Kremlin on Monday downplayed televised comments by US President Donald Trump that Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin was "probably" involved in assassinations and poisonings, saying they did not amount to a direct accusation.
"The US president didn't make any direct accusations," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists after a CBS News interviewer asked Trump: "Do you agree that Vladimir Putin is involved in assassinations? In poisonings?" and he answered: "Probably he is, yeah."
Peskov said that in any case there are no grounds for accusations against the Russian president.
Russia has insisted two suspects in the nerve agent poisoning of former Russian double-agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter are ordinary citizens.
The Kremlin denounced any attempt to link the events in Salisbury, England to Putin.
"No accusations can exist against the Russian president that are backed up by any arguments at all, still less by proof," Peskov said Monday.
Peskov urged the need "to be flexible about linguistic peculiarities" over the interview where Trump used broken-off phrases and at times was unintelligible.
"I wouldn't make the judgement that Trump 'acknowledged the possibility' (of Putin being involved)," Peskov said.
He agreed, however, with Trump's statement that the two leaders had a "very tough" meeting in Finland in July in terms of the "irritants" in relations discussed.