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Russian embassy in UK doubts authenticity of statement on behalf of Yulia Skripal

April 12, 2018, 1:12 updated at: April 12, 2018, 2:33 UTC+3

Embassy said that the text is obviously worded in a way to back the British authorities’ official statements

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© Ilya Dmitrichev/TASS

MOSCOW, April 12. /TASS/. The Russian embassy to the United Kingdom said on Thursday it doubts the authenticity of the statement published by Scotland Yard on behalf of Yulia Skripal.

"As before, we would like to make sure that the statement really belongs to Yulia. So far, we doubt it much. 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, the embassy said.

The embassy expressed surprise that the statement had been published at Scotland Yard’s website instead of being read out by Yulia on camera. "We are surprised by the point about the "access to friends and family". Not a single friend or relative quoted by Russian or British media confirms such contacts," it said.

The Russian embassy urged the British side to give "tangible evidence that Yulia is alright and not deprived of her freedom" as the Scotland Yard’s document "only strengthens suspicions that we are dealing with a forcible isolation of the Russian citizen."

"With no possibility to verify it, the publication by the Metropolitan Police raises new questions rather than gives answers," the embassy stressed.

Yulia Skripal was discharged from Salisbury District Hospital on April 9. She had been in the hospital since March 4 after being found unconscious beside her father on a bench outside the Maltings shopping center in Salisbury. According to London, Sergei and Yulia Skripal were poisoned with an alleged nerve agent

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.

On April 3, Chief Executive of the Defense Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) at Porton Down Gary Aitkenhead told Sky News that British experts had been unable to identify the origin of the nerve agent used to attack Skripal and his daughter.

However, in the wake of the Salisbury incident, 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. The United Kingdom was later requested to reduce the number of its diplomatic staff in Russia so that it would match the number of Russian diplomats in Great Britain.

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