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Britain

UK police: daughter of poisoned ex-spy Sergei Skripal turns down help from Russia

Julia Skripal said her father remained seriously ill and she was still suffering from the effects of the military-grade Novichok nerve agent used against them

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 12 April, 2018, 4:05pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 12 April, 2018, 4:05pm

The daughter of poisoned former spy Sergei Skripal said 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 furore.

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 hospitalised.

“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 Wednesday.

“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 criticised 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.

The Russian embassy in London, which has repeatedly asked for consular access to Yulia Skripal and has accused the British authorities of abducting her, said it doubted very much that the statement genuinely came from Yulia.

“The text has been composed in a special way so as to support official statements made by British authorities and at the same time to exclude every possibility of Yulia’s contacts with the outer world – consuls, journalists and even relatives,” it said in a statement.

“To sum up, the document only strengthens suspicions that we are dealing with a forcible isolation of the Russian citizen.”

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.

Additional reporting by Reuters