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Russian Embassy again demands access to poisoning victims

A small amount of Novichok is thought to have been used in liquid form to target Sergei and Yulia Skripal.

The Russian Embassy in London has once again demanded access to Novichok poisoning victims Sergei and Yulia Skripal.

Six months on from the nerve agent attack in Salisbury it has reiterated its belief that the UK is flouting international law by apparently keeping the pair from having contact with embassy officials.

A statement released by the Russian Embassy on Tuesday referred to the circumstances of the March attack as “obscure” and accused British authorities of keeping the Skripals in isolation ever since their release from hospital.

It said: “They remain out of the public eye at an unknown location, unable to communicate freely with their relatives, friends, journalists or Russian officials, deprived of the freedom of movement.”

The statement claimed that authorities in the UK had refused to allow the embassy to have direct contact with the former spy and his daughter “in order to verify their actual health situation, the conditions in which they are held and, most importantly, to ascertain to which extent their isolation is voluntary”.

The embassy added that it had sent more than 70 notes and letters to the Foreign Office, Home Office and police since the poisoning but had had nearly all of its queries ignored.

Following her release from hospital Ms Skripal said she was “grateful for the offers of assistance from the Russian Embassy but at the moment I do not wish to avail myself of their services”.

A small amount of Novichok is thought to have been used in liquid form to target the Skripals.

The attack sparked a wave of diplomatic expulsions by Britain and its allies, and retaliatory ones by Russia.

The UK Government said it is “highly likely” Russia was behind the attack but Moscow has repeatedly denied responsibility.

In July, Dawn Sturgess, 44, died after becoming an indirect casualty of the poisoning, with authorities believing she and boyfriend Charlie Rowley picked up a discarded vial containing the substance.

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