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3 Jul, 2018 09:28

Niece of alleged UK poisoning victim Viktoria Skripal makes foray into Russian politics

Niece of alleged UK poisoning victim Viktoria Skripal makes foray into Russian politics

Viktoria Skripal, the niece of the former intelligence agent and alleged poisoning victim Sergei Skripal, has been nominated to run for Yaroslavl regional legislature by leftist opposition party Fair Russia.

When we were choosing the party’s candidates we made a proposal to her and she agreed, with pleasure,” Kommersant quoted the secretary of Fair Russia’s Yaroslavl regional council, Anatoly Kashirin, as saying. He also described Yulia Skripal as “a patriot with an active position in life.”

Viktoria is a niece of Sergei Skripal and a cousin of his daughter Yulia – the two people at the center of the scandal that developed in March after British law enforcement agencies reported that they had been allegedly poisoned with a military-grade nerve agent and blamed Russia.

The accusations were based on the fact that Sergey Skripal used to be an officer of Russia’s Main Foreign Intelligence Directorate, the GRU. At some point he changed sides and started working for the British, got busted, convicted and sentenced to prison. He eventually ended up in Britain as part of the 2010 spy swap.

Both Sergei and Yulia Skripal spent some time in a hospital before being discharged from care. They were then placed under police protection.

The Russian side denies all allegations of involvement in the incident. In addition, Russia has repeatedly requested access to evidence in the case or to the victims themselves, but all such requests have been denied so far. Russia also started a criminal case into the poisoning because Yulia Skripal remains a Russian citizen, but so far investigators have not reported any progress.

Some time after reports about the alleged poisoning Viktoria contacted her relatives and tried to arrange a personal visit, but British authorities twice denied her a visa – officially, over insufficient personal income.

Viktoria also spoke with her cousin Yulia by phone and told reporters she suspected that the woman “did not speak with her own words.”

It could not be heard on the phone, but [I heard someone saying] - 'You can talk.' She was obviously shuffled [by someone] and [somebody] dialed my number for her, because she clearly did not remember all nine figures of my cell number. Logically, she had to call my home number, but for some reason, she phoned my cell phone,” Viktoria told Ruptly.

She also wrote a letter to the UK PM Theresa May asking for help with gaining access to her relatives, but this step has not yielded any results.

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