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UK mulls Russian request for access to Yulia Skripal

British Prime Minister Theresa May is shown the police tent covering the bench in Salisbury where former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found following an apparent nerve agent attack
AFP

London (AFP) – Britain said Saturday it was considering Moscow’s request for consular access to Yulia Skripal, the daughter of a former Russian spy targeted in a nerve agent attack.

Sergei Skripal and his daughter have been in hospital since March 4 after being poisoned in an attack in Britain that London and its major Western allies blame on Russia.

The first use of chemical weapons in Europe since World War II has chilled Moscow’s relations with the West.

The Foreign Office said that in reaching its decision, it would take into account whether Yulia Skripal wanted Russian officials to pay her a visit in hospital.

Yulia Skripal came out of critical care on Thursday. The 33-year-old was “improving rapidly and is no longer in a critical condition”, said Salisbury District Hospital.

She is now in a “stable” condition — with the BBC reporting that she was conscious and talking.

“We are considering requests for consular access in line with our obligations under international and domestic law, including the rights and wishes of Yulia Skripal,” a Foreign Office spokeswoman told AFP.

Britain says there is no alternative conclusion other than Russian state culpability behind the attack — which Moscow denies — saying a Soviet-designed nerve agent dubbed Novichok was used in the poisoning.

Sergei Skripal, 66, a former double agent, remains in a critical but stable condition.

Skripal sold secrets to Britain and moved there in a 2010 spy swap. His daughter was visiting from Russia.

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