YAROSLAVL, May 28. /TASS/. The niece of former GRU Colonel Sergey Skripal, Viktoria, has given up the idea to visit the UK to meet with her uncle and his daughter Yulia.
Viktoria Skripal lives in the Volga River city of Yaroslavl with the mother of Sergey Skripal, Yelena. The UK authorities have repeatedly denied her the entry visa.
"What is the point of my going to the UK? Initially my plan was to visit the clinic, see what their (Sergey and Yulia Skripal) state of health was. Now they are neither at their home in Salisbury nor in hospital. As long as I don’t know their address for sure, know about their whereabouts, I won’t be submitting the documents for a visa," Viktoria told TASS on Tuesday.
Earlier reports said Sergey Skripal twice called his niece this spring - in April and in May. Those were his first phone calls to the relatives after the Salisbury poisoning in 2018. In April, Skripal managed to speak with his niece, while in May he left her a voice message. According to Viktoria, Skripal did not tell her his exact address, saying he was being moved from one place to another.
"He is safe and sound, using different phone numbers to call. He said right away that it was not his phone number, he was being given a phone to make a call. During his first and second calls, he said he was okay and Yulia also, except for his tracheostoma - it was difficult for him to speak, he was speaking with slight hoarseness," Viktoria added. She referred to the Investigative Committee all recordings of the phone calls with her uncle.
According to the British side, on March 4, 66-year-old Sergei Skripal, who had been convicted in Russia of spying for Great Britain and later swapped for Russian intelligence officers, and his 33-year-old daughter Yulia suffered the effects of an alleged nerve agent in the British city of Salisbury. Claiming that the substance used in the incident had been a nerve agent allegedly developed in Russia, London rushed to accuse Moscow of being involved in the episode.
The Russian side flatly 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.
Specialists from UK’s chemical weapons lab have failed to establish the origin of the substance that poisoned the Skripals.
London expelled 23 Russian diplomats without providing any evidence and said other measures against Moscow would be taken. In response, Moscow took tit-for-tat steps by expelling the same number of British diplomats from Russia and ordering the closure of the British Consulate-General in St. Petersburg, in addition to shutting down the British Council’s offices in Russia.