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Yulia Skripal’s video address leaves many unanswered questions — Russian lawmaker

May 24, 2018, 6:51 UTC+3 MOSCOW

"The Russian diplomatic mission’s demands to meet with Yulia are rightful and justified," Leonid Slutsky said

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MOSCOW, May 24. /TASS/. A video address by Yulia Skripal, in which she rejects Russian embassy’s aid, leaves unanswered many questions about the March 4 Salisbury incident, a senior Russian lawmaker said.

"The first video address by Yulia Skripal regretfully leaves a host of unanswered questions. This applies to conditions she is currently in, and to sincerity of her words and intentions," said Leonid Slutsky, who heads the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Russian parliament’s lower chamber.

"To date, the UK government has failed to provide access for Russian consular workers and embassy officials who want to make sure that the Russian citizen is safe and is not making her statements under pressure," he continued. "The video address might as well be staged with an aim to conceal the truth about the March 4 incident in Salisbury. That’s why the Russian diplomatic mission’s demands to meet with Yulia are rightful and justified."

He said that State Duma lawmakers will "keep monitoring the situation."

"We are glad to see that Yulia is alive and well and are ready to render all necessary assistance for her to return home. But I still believe that a full and independent investigation is needed into the United Kingdom’s illegal actions against Russia over the Skripal case," the lawmaker said.

Earlier on Wednesday, Yulia Skripal appeared on TV screens for the first time after having been poisoned in Salisbury. In an interview with Reuters, she said that she continued to "progress with treatment" and that "in the longer term" she hoped to return home to her country. She added she was grateful for the offers of assistance from the Russian embassy but did not wish to "avail myself of their services."

According to London, former Russian military intelligence officer Sergei Skripal, 66, who had been sentenced in Russia for spying for the UK, and his daughter Yulia, 33, were exposed to a nerve agent in the British city of Salisbury on March 4. Claiming that the substance used in the attack had been a Novichok-class nerve agent developed in the Soviet Union, London rushed to accuse Russia of being involved in the incident. Moscow 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.

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