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Relocation of Skripals from UK may be viewed as abduction of Russian nationals - diplomat

April 10, 7:10 UTC+3 LONDON

Such deportation will be another gross violation of the international law, a spokesman for the Russian Embassy in London said

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LONDON, April 10. /TASS/. A possible relocation of former Russian military intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia from Great Britain to another country will be viewed as an abduction of Russian nationals, a spokesman for the Russian Embassy in London said on Tuesday.

The Sunday Times weekly reported earlier that British intelligence service MI-6 discussed with their colleagues from the United States Central Intelligence Service (CIA) a possibility of relocating Skripals to one of four countries, namely the United States, Canada, Australia or New Zealand for their own safety.

"In case the secret relocation of Sergei and Yulia Skripal takes place, an opportunity to hear their account of March 4 events will be most probably lost," the spokesman told journalists. "This in turn will be viewed under the conditions of the lack of a possibility of talking to them as an abduction of two Russian nationals or, at least, as their isolation."

"Such deportation will be another gross violation of the international law," the diplomat added.

Skripal case

On March 4, former Russian military intelligence officer Sergei Skripal, 66, who had been earlier sentenced in Russia for spying for the UK, and his daughter Yulia, 33, were found unconscious on a bench near the Maltings shopping center in Salisbury, UK. Police said they had been exposed to a nerve agent.

Later, London claimed that the toxin of Novichok-class had been allegedly developed in Russia. With that, the UK rushed to accuse Russia of being involved, while failing to produce any evidence. Moscow refuted the accusations that it had participated in the incident and points out that neither the Soviet Union nor Russia have ever done research into that toxic chemical.

Without providing any proof, London expelled 23 Russian diplomats and suspended all planned high-level bilateral contacts. In response, Moscow expelled the equal number of UK diplomats. In addition, Britain’s consulate in St. Petersburg was ordered to be closed and the British Council’s operations in Russia were terminated.

In a show of solidarity with the UK, a number of Western countries, including Italy, expelled Russian diplomats. The move was followed by tit-for-tat response from Russian.

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