Daughter of Russian spy poisoned in nerve agent attack 'didn't deserve to be targeted', friend says

'No one wants to speak - even her relatives' 

Tom Barnes
Saturday 10 March 2018 12:26
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Sergei Skripal: What we know so far

The daughter of a former Russian double agent “had done nothing” to deserve being targeted with a nerve agent, her friend has said.

Yulia Skripal is still fighting for her life along with her father Sergei after they were exposed to an unknown toxic substance in Salisbury.

Her childhood friend Irina Petrova told the BBC “everyone was shocked” by the news, adding the 33-year-old was a “normal kind of person”.

She said Ms Skripal “hasn't done anything to deserve” the attack and her friends and family were scared to speak out for fear of reprisal.

"I'm starting to get scared," she said. "No one wants to speak - even her relatives".

Ms Petrova said Ms Skripal had lived in the UK for five years after her father was given refuge there in 2010, but “wasn’t drawn to England”.

She said her friend considered applying for British citizenship, but later changed her mind and moved back to Moscow to live with her long-term boyfriend.

Ms Skripal had been visiting her father at the time of the attack and had an “excellent” relationship with him, Ms Petrova said.

“She told me she liked everything there," she said. "They had an amazing place, and amazing house."

Ms Skripal and her father, 66, are currently being treated in hospital for exposure to a nerve agent after both were found collapsed on park bench.

Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey, 38, is also receiving treatment after being exposed to the chemical as one of the first responders to the incident.

Wiltshire Police’s acting Chief Constable, Kier Pritchard, said DS Bailey remained in a serious condition, but was now conscious and “talking and engaging” with people.

Mr Skripal has jailed for 13 years in Russia in 2006 after he was caught spying for MI6, but only served four years of his sentence before being brought to the UK in a spy swap deal in 2010.

The Kremlin denies any involvement in the attempt on the former agent’s life.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd will chair a meeting of the Government's Cobra committee on Saturday afternoon, to receive an update on the police investigation into the incident.

Officers wearing protective clothing cordoned off the graves of Mr Skripal’s son, Alexander and wife, Liumila at a cemetery in Salisbury as part of their enquiries.

Mrs Skripal died of cancer in 2012, while Alexander Skripal died of liver failure aged 43 in St Petersburg last year.

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