Britain denies Russian diplomats access to Skripal

Great Britain has denied Russian diplomats access to former intelligence officer Sergei Skripal, who is in the hospital after being poisoned with the nerve-paralyzing agent Novichok, Interfax reports.

The Russian embassy in London stated that Skripal is being treated as a British citizen.

The Russian diplomatic mission said that they requested consular access to both Skripal and his daughter Yulia (a Russian citizen).

Russian diplomat to Great Britain Alexander Yakovenko said that Skripal and his daughter Yulia are Russian citizens. He also said that Britain is allegedly concealing information. No one has seen them (the Skripals – Ed.), spoken with the doctors, and no one has access to them.

“Everything is being kept in absolute secrecy. We received the same reply to all our messages - Skripal is in serious condition, said Yakovenko.

On March 4, Skripal and his daughter were found unconscious in the city of Salisbury. It was discovered that they had been poisoned with the nerve-paralyzing agent Novichok, which was developed in Russia.

Novichoks are highly toxic nerve agents which were developed in the USSR in the 1970s and 1980s. One of the substances in this group, A-232, has a higher toxicity than the known toxin VX, capable of killing a person in a few minutes. Several variations of this substance were produced, one of which was approved by the Russian army for use as a chemical weapon.

One of the developers of Novichok, the Russian chemist Vil Mirzayanov, said that if the former agent and his daughter were really poisoned by Novichok, they have no chance of recovery.

In 2006, Skripal was convicted in Russia of espionage as an informant to British intelligence and sentenced to 13 years in prison. In 2010, as part of a large-scale exchange of spies between the U.S. and Russia, he was granted asylum in the UK.

  Sergei Skripal, Britain, Russia, Novichok poison

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