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13 April 2024

Daughter of poisoned spy in Britain turns down Russian help

Yulia Skripal (AP)


The daughter of poisoned former spy Sergei Skripal said Wednesday that she doesn’t want help from the Russian Embassy as she recovers from the nerve agent attack that left her and her father in critical condition and created an international furor.

Yulia Skripal, 33, said in a statement that she finds herself with a “totally different life” than the one she had before the March 4 poisoning in southwest England. She was released from the hospital this week, while Sergei Skripal remains hospitalized.

“I have been made aware of my specific contacts at the Russian Embassy who have kindly offered me their assistance,” Skripal, a Russian citizen who was visiting her father in the cathedral city of Salisbury, said in the statement.

“At the moment, I do not wish to avail myself of their services, but if I change my mind I know how to contact them.”

Britain has blamed the attack on Russia, triggering the expulsion of more than 150 Russian diplomats from western countries. Russia vehemently denies any involvement and has responded by expelling the same number of diplomats.

Yulia Skripal’s statement, which was distributed by London’s Metropolitan Police, is important because the Russian Embassy in London has criticized the British government for not allowing diplomatic staff to visit the Skripals since they were stricken. Britain has said it is up to the father and daughter to decide whether they want to meet with embassy officials.

Earlier, the embassy protested that its requests for consular access had been “left without a substantial reaction on part of the British authorities.”

“We would like to know what exactly the British side did to comply with its international obligation under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and the bilateral Consular Convention, and what were the reasons for such a unfounded conclusion,” the embassy said.

Yulia Skripal’s statement also addressed a controversy over her cousin, Viktoria. British officials alleged that the cousin was a pawn of the Russian government after she gave interviews with Russian media outlets.

Skripal thanked Viktoria for her concern and asked her to “not visit me or try to contact me for the time being.”

“Her opinions and assertions are not mine and they are not my father’s,” Yulia Skripal said.