Precisely a year after Sergei and Yulia Skripals’ poisoning in the British town of Salisbury, the Russian Embassy to Great Britain and Northern Ireland issued a detailed report, summing up a whole range of data on Sergei and Yulia Skripals’ poisoning, but most importantly, raising questions that are still to be answered.
Sergei Out of Touch With Outer World
In the report, “Salisbury: Unanswered Questions”, Russian officials have scrupulously outlined the sequence of events starting from 4 March 2018 up to the present moment, reminding readers of the fact that although the British side claimed earlier this year that Sergei Skripal had successfully recovered from the nerve agent attack, he is hitherto not known to have interacted with the outside world.
The Embassy remarked at this point, that Yulia had had some contacts, but that they are largely limited to only four incidents, which are further discussed at length below.
Yulia’s Interactions: Next to Nothing
The first interaction is Yulia’s phone call to her cousin Viktoria Skripal, a month after the incident, which incidentally “sounded as if Yulia had seized a moment to briefly speak to her cousin when not being watched or listened to”, the report stated at length. Having informed Viktoria about her and her father’s health, she concluded by saying there is no way Viktoria could be given a visa, as “that’s the situation here”, the report cited Yulia as saying.
Two other messages from Yulia arrived through British police mediation, with them confirming in the first statement that she had woken up a week earlier. The statement was notably issued the same day Yulia called her cousin. The second statement, also made by the police on Yulia’s behalf, “curiously” claimed that “no one speaks for me” and asked Viktoria not to visit them in the UK.
The latest statement to date, with Yulia captured on video looking the picture of health, arrived on 23 May, where, as stated in the report, Skripal’s daughter appeared to “read from a prepared text which had been obviously pre-written in English by a native English speaker” before being translated into Russian.
The documents further have it that first-hand complaints about the lack of contact with both Sergei and Yulia have been repeatedly made not only by Viktoria Skripal, but also Elena Skripal, Sergei’s 90-year-old mother, which effectively busts the UK’s assertions of the freedom of communication that the attacked pair reportedly enjoys.
In late February, days after The Sunday Times reported that Sergei Skripal’s health had deteriorated, with the former intel agent receiving medical support at home amid fears that he might never recover, the colonel’s mother appealed to the police to formally declare her son missing.
OPCW’s Report ‘Formal, Empty’
On March 4, Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found unconscious on a bench near a shopping mall in Salisbury. The UK authorities have blamed Russia for attempting to assassinate the Skripals with what is believed by London to be the A234 nerve agent. Russia has denied having any role in the poisoning, pointing to the lack of evidence provided by London to substantiate its accusations.
Russia requested a joint investigation, but was rejected, while the OPCW hasn’t shed light on who is behind the attack either, with Russian officials referring to their report as “formal and empty”.
Following the Salisbury incident, Russian-British ties reached a new low, with Russian diplomats being expelled from a number of EU states in the wake of the affair.