12:16 GMT17 May 2021
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    Expulsion of Russian Diplomats Over Skripal Case (109)

    UK authorities have denied an entry visa to the niece of ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal saying her visa application as it "did not comply with the Immigration Rules."

    Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has said to Rossiya 1 TV channel that Moscow wants London to explain why it had refused to issue a visa to Victoria Skripal, who sought to visit her cousin Yulia who's in hospital in the UK town of Salisbury. 

    The Russian Embassy has also commented on the issue, saying that the UK authorities' justification to reject Victoria Skripal's visa application doesn't hold up against criticism.

    Commenting on the reports that Russian state was looking to use Yulia Skripal's cousin as a "pawn," Zakharova dismissed insinuations that Victoria Skripal was linked to the Kremlin.

    "Although this is utter absurdity, but we have already heard hundreds of such absurd statements from Britain," she said.

    The UK authorities denied issuing a visa for Victoria Skripal on "the grounds that her application did not comply with the Immigration Rules." Following the announcement, Viktoria Skripal alleged in an interview with the Sky News that "the British must have something to hide."

    The former spy's niece earlier said she had doubts that the UK government would grant her a visa. She said on Rossiya 1 TV channel's 60 minutes program on Thursday that she would like to go to Britain and take her cousin Yulia back home.

    The Skripals have been treated in a UK hospital after being found unconscious on March 4 on a bench at a shopping center in the town of Salisbury. They are recovering and are no longer in critical condition.

    UK Prime Minister Theresa May has claimed that it was highly likely that Russia was behind the attack in Salisbury and expelled 23 Russian diplomats. Russian authorities have denied any involvement in the poisoning, saying there were no facts supporting the accusations.

    Expulsion of Russian Diplomats Over Skripal Case (109)


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