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Skripal still holds Russian citizenship, has right to see Russian consul, says diplomat

May 16, 15:28 UTC+3 KERCH

The Russian Foreign Ministry is not satisfied with the statements by British officials about Sergei and Yulia Skripal allegedly refusing to speak to the Russian side

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Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova

© Sergei Malgavko/TASS

KERCH, May 16. /TASS/. Sergei Skripal has not forfeited his Russian citizenship, nor did he renounce it and has the right to communicate with the Russian consul, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova announced at Wednesday’s press briefing.

"Sergei Skripal did not lose Russian citizenship and, as we understand, did not renounce it. He has every right to communicate with Russian consuls, just as Russia has every right to communicate with him," she emphasized.

Zakharova stressed that the Russian Foreign Ministry is not satisfied with the statements by British officials about Sergei and Yulia Skripal allegedly refusing to speak to the Russian side and refusing medical help from Russian medical specialists.

"If they [the Skripals] do not need our help, the British side should let them state that in person. Given the current conditions, we have to qualify the situation as forcible detention or even abduction of two of our citizens by British officials. Actions such as these by the UK constitute a serious violation of bilateral agreements," the spokeswoman emphasized. She also noted that Russia would carry on its efforts to establish direct contact with the Skripals via the London embassy.

The Skripal saga

On March 4, Sergei Skripal, who had been convicted in Russia of spying for Great Britain, and his daughter Yulia suffered the effects of an alleged nerve agent in the British city of Salisbury. Claiming that the substance used in the incident had been a nerve agent allegedly developed in Russia, London rushed to accuse Moscow of being involved in the case without presenting any evidence. The Russian side flatly rejected all of the United Kingdom’s accusations, saying that a program aimed at developing such a substance had existed neither in the Soviet Union nor in Russia.

Skripal was pardoned in Russia in 2010. He then moved to the United Kingdom and received British citizenship. Based on these grounds, UK officials have been refusing to grant Russian diplomats consular access to the Skripal. Shortly after the poisoning, the British media reported that Skripal had allegedly renounced his Russian citizenship. However, there has been no official confirmation of the reports.

His daughter Yulia has a Russian passport. The Russian Foreign Ministry has highlighted this fact several times when requesting consular access to her. At the end of March, Russian Ambassador to the UK Alexander Yakovenko stated that Sergei Skripal has dual citizenship: both British and Russian. He did not comment on reports that Skripal had allegedly renounced his Russian citizenship.

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