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Skripal’s niece says probe into Salisbury incident conducted under political pressure

YAROSLAVL, July 3. /TASS/. The niece of former Russian military intelligence officer-turned-British spy Sergei Skripal, who was poisoned in Salisbury on March 4, said on Tuesday she doesn’t think the investigation into the incident can be called independent as it is conducted under political pressure.

"British investigators are obviously under political pressure. The investigation cannot be called independent as it is politically-motivated," Viktoria Skripal told TASS.

She said that the probe into the incident should involve representatives of various countries. "It is not a common case and concerns not only our country. It has gained a global scale. If they wanted an independent investigation they would have allowed Russia to take part, they would have invited Germany, the United States. It could be called independent then," she said.

Viktoria Skripal’s name hit the headlines after she had been denied a British entry visa to visit her cousin Yulia, Sergei Skripal’s daughter, a Russian national, who had also been allegedly exposed to a nerve agent.

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 a shopping center in Salisbury, UK on March 4. Police said they had been exposed to a nerve agent.

After the incident, the British media reported the two had been in critical conditions, with chances for survival next to zero. However both soon began to recover. Yulia was released from hospital on April 10 and her father was reportedly discharged on May 18.

Following the incident, 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.