MOSCOW, June 1. /TASS/. Moscow is prepared to provide all the necessary assistance to Russian citizen Yulia Skripal for her return home, Deputy Head of the Information and Press Department of Russia’s Foreign Ministry Artyom Kozhin said on Friday.
He recalled that Yulia Skripal, who was allegedly poisoned with her father in a nerve agent attack in the UK in March, made a video address last week.
"This certainly gives hope that she is alive and is in good health," the diplomat said. "We are glad that Yulia is planning to return home. We are ready to provide her with all the necessary assistance."
However, even this brief video address raises many questions, particularly about her living conditions, as well as whether she may freely communicate with the outer world, he said.
"With due respect for her private life, we are not confident that her steps and decisions are independent, and we still demand that the United Kingdom meet its international and legal commitments in providing consular access to our fellow citizens," Kozhin said.
The diplomat also drew attention to Yulia Skripal’s mental condition during the video address. "Her apparent constraint may be a signal that she lacks moral and psychological support of relatives," he said.
The UK authorities have several times refused to issue a visa for Yulia’s cousin Victoria Skripal who wanted to come to the country and visit her relatives. "London is shamelessly creating artificial obstacles for this absolutely natural and sincere wish, without taking care about the feelings of relatives and their rights."
On May 23, Yulia Skripal, who had been discharged from hospital, made a video address in which she stated her unwillingness to use the help offered by the Russian Embassy to the UK.
On March 4, former Russian intelligence officer convicted for spying for the United Kingdom, Sergei Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia, 33, were allegedly poisoned with a nerve agent, according to British investigators. Later, London stated that this agent was designed in Russia and blamed Moscow for being behind the incident based on this assumption. The Russian side refuted all accusations, saying that neither the Soviet Union nor Russia had any programs for developing this agent.
The UK expelled 23 Russian diplomats and announced other restrictive measures against Moscow without presenting any evidence of its involvement in the incident. In retaliation to the UK’s steps, Russia expelled 23 British diplomats, closed the British consulate general in the city of St. Petersburg, while the British Council had to shut down its operations in Russia.