NEWS
10/04/2018 14:27 BST | Updated 11/04/2018 08:44 BST

Russia Tells Britain It Would Be 'Abduction' To Resettle Yulia And Sergei Skripal

Yulia was discharged from hospital on Tuesday.

Any secret resettlement of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in the UK would be an “abduction”, the Russian embassy in London has said.

The former Russian double agent and his daughter were poisoned by a deadly nerve agent in Salisbury last month, and have been recovering in hospital for the last month.

On Monday, doctors announced Yulia had been released and taken to a secure location, raising questions about whether the 33-year-old would be resettled or granted asylum in the UK or US. 

Soon after the announcement by the hospital, the Russian embassy said resettlement of the pair would be “another gross violation of international law”.

“The world, while having no opportunity to interact with them, will have every reason to see this as an abduction of the two Russian nationals or at least as their isolation,” a statement read.

The poisoning has triggered a diplomatic standoff between Britain, its allies and Russia in the last five weeks.

Last week Yulia Skripal was reported to have dismissed a Russian request for consular access to her. Her cousin, Viktoria, who has appeared on Russian state-owned television to discuss the case, said she had been denied a British visa to visit the pair. 

The Sunday Times reported the pair would likely be given new identities and relocated, possibly to America.

PA Wire/PA Images
Dr Christine Blanshard, Medical Director, and Lorna Wilkinson, director of nursing, make a statement outside Salisbury District Hospital to announce Yulia Skripal has been discharged

The statement by the Russian Embassy continued: “Since the poisoning of Sergey and Yulia Skripal the United Kingdom has not complied with its international obligations under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and the bilateral Consular Convention by not allowing consular access to the Russian citizens and not providing any verifiable information on their wishes in that respect.”

It also hit out at the rejection of a visa for Viktoria, saying the Home Office’s explanation for the denial was “absurd and farfetched”.

A government source told the BBC the visa was rejected amid fears the Kremlin was “trying to use Viktoria as a pawn”.

Sergei Skripal, 66, remains in hospital but was said to be making “good progress” in recovery, and would leave the unit in due course, doctors said.