Viktoria Skripal: Niece of poisoned Russian spy Sergei Skripal refused visa by UK government for second time

Yulia Skripal has previously said she did not want to see her cousin 

Lizzie Dearden
Home Affairs Correspondent
Tuesday 15 May 2018 10:09
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Recording of alleged phone call between Skripal daughter and her cousin broadcast on Russian state TV

Sergei Skripal’s niece has been refused a visa to visit Britain for a second time as he continues to be treated for nerve agent exposure.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “We have refused a visa application from Viktoria Skripal on the grounds that she did not meet the requirements of the immigration rules.”

Viktoria Skripal previously attempted to gain a visa to travel from Moscow in early April and was turned down on the same basis, with her cousin Yulia publicly saying she did not wish to see her.

Ms Skripal has appealed to the government to let her visit her uncle and cousin, who are recovering following the attack in Salisbury on 4 March.

In April she revealed what was claimed to be recorded comments from phone conversations, but in a statement released last month Yulia said that “no one speaks for me, or for my father, but ourselves”.

“I thank my cousin Viktoria for her concern for us, but ask that she does not visit me or try to contact me for the time being,” she added.

“I have access to friends and family, and I have been made aware of my specific contacts at the Russian embassy who have kindly offered me their assistance in any way they can.

“At the moment I do not wish to avail myself of their services, but, if I change my mind I know how to contact them.”

Mr Skripal remains at Salisbury District Hospital, where officials said his condition is improving and he is no longer in a critical condition.

His daughter was discharged last month and is recovering in an undisclosed location.

Russian officials have repeatedly attempted to cast Yulia’s situation as “forced isolation” and cast doubt on whether statements “really belong to Yulia”.

The Kremlin has repeatedly denied any role in the nerve agent attack on Mr Skripal, a former double agent who was jailed for treason in Russia before moving to the UK following a 2010 spy swap.

Police concluded that nerve agent had been smeared on the door handle of his home in a quiet Salisbury cul-de-sac, affecting both him and his daughter during her visit from Russia.

Members of the emergency services, including DS Nick Bailey, were also affected by the substance and decontamination work continues across the Wiltshire city to rid sites they visited of any traces.

The British government has accused Russia of culpability after identifying the nerve agent used as one of the Soviet-developed novichok group and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons confirmed its analysis.

Investigators have not yet identified who carried out the poisoning, the national security adviser told MPs earlier this month.

Sir Mark Sedwill said police were reviewing the security of all defected Russian spies living in the UK in the wake of the unprecedented attack.

He insisted that authorities had acted “much faster” than following the murder of another former Russian spy, Alexander Litvinenko, with radioactive polonium in 2006.

Little over a week after the attack in Salisbury, Russian businessman Nikolai Glushkov was found strangled at his London home. No one has been arrested in relation to his death and police investigations continue.

Scotland Yard said there was no immediate evidence of a link to the attack on Mr Skripal, but Mr Glushkov’s links to Russian dissident Boris Berezovsky sparked fresh scrutiny over a string of suspicious deaths.

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