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    Russia’s embassy demands meeting with Yulia Skripal

    Russia’s Embassy to London demanded on Wednesday a meeting with Yulia Skripal to make sure that she was not held against her own will, the mission’s press secretary said commenting on Yulia Skripal’s video address released earlier in the day.
    “We are glad to have seen Yulia Skripal alive and well. The statement she read out contains new information. However, the video shown only strengthens our concerns as to the conditions in which she is being held,” he said.
    “More than that, judging by quite a few elements, the text was a translation from English and had been initially written by a native English-speaker. The handwritten letters signed by Yulia in Russian and English confirm this impression,” the diplomat added.
    “With all respect for Yulia’s privacy and security, this video does not discharge the UK authorities from their obligations under Consular Conventions. The UK is obliged to give us the opportunity to speak to Yulia directly in order to make sure that she is not held against her own will and is not speaking under pressure. So far, we have every reason to suspect the opposite,” he concluded.
    Earlier on Wednesday, Yulia Skripal appeared on TV screens for the first time after having been poisoned in Salisbury. In an interview with Reuters, she said that she continued to “progress with treatment” and that “in the longer term” she hoped to return home to her country. She added she was grateful for the offers of assistance from the Russian embassy but did not wish to “avail myself of their services.”
    According to London, former Russian military intelligence officer Sergei Skripal, 66, who had been sentenced in Russia for spying for the UK, and his daughter Yulia, 33, were exposed to a nerve agent in the British city of Salisbury on March 4. 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.

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