NICOLA Sturgeon has lambasted Alex Salmond for failing to admit the Russian state was behind the Salisbury chemical weapon attack.

The First Minister was “sadly not surprised” that her predecessor, who has had a TV show on a Kremlin-funded channel since 2017, prevaricated on the issue.

She said she didn’t recognise the person her mentor had become.

Mr Salmond was widely criticised on Wednesday after repeatedly refusing to say if Russia poisoned Sergei and Julia Skripal with the Novichok nerve agent in 2018.

Although the former spy and his daughter survived, a local woman, Dawn Burgess, died after coming into contact with a perfume bottle used in the attack.

Then Prime Minister Theresa May said the only conclusion was that “the Russian state was culpable for the attempted murder of Mr Skripal and his daughter”.

But asked three times if Russia had been behind the poisoning of the Skripals, Mr Salmond would only say that contested evidence had been presented, and bridled at being questioned about it.

Speaking to the media yesterday, Ms Sturgeon blamed Russia.

She said: “At the time of that I was privy to some of the intelligence information and briefing. There is no doubt in my mind Russia was behind the poisoning. All right-minded people who value and want to stand up for decent values across the world should say that.”

Asked how she felt about Mr Salmond not saying the same, she said: “Sadly not surprised.

“Disappointed, because I do think that everybody who thinks they’ve got a role to play in politics.. should be mindful of the values of our country and the values we want to project internationally and the reputation of the country internationally.

“I look at him now and won’t always recognise the person I was close to all these years ago.

“That’s something I have had to come to terms with over the past couple of years and I’ve probably come to terms with it more now than I have in the past.”