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UK aims to resettle poisoned Russian ex-spy in the US

China Daily | Updated: 2018-04-09 07:32
An undated photograph shows Yulia Skripal, daughter of former Russian Spy Sergei Skripal, taken from Yulia Skripal's Facebook account in London, Britain, April 6, 2018. [Photo/Agencies]

LONDON - The United Kingdom is considering offering poisoned Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia new identities and a fresh life in the United States, the Sunday Times newspaper reported.

It said officials at the MI6 intelligence agency have had discussions with their counterparts in the CIA about resettling the victims poisoned last month in the English city of Salisbury.

"They will be offered new identities," it quoted an unidentified source as saying.

The paper said its sources believed the UK would want to ensure their safety by resettling them in one of the so-called "five eyes" countries, the intelligence-sharing partnership that also includes the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

"The obvious place to resettle them is America because they're less likely to be killed there and it's easier to protect them there under a new identity," it quoted what it called an intelligence source familiar with the negotiations as saying.

"There's a preference for them to be resettled in a five-eyes nation because their case would have huge security implications," the source added.

The UK's Foreign Office had no immediate comment on the report.

Relations between Russia and the UK have plunged to their lowest in decades since the pair were found slumped unconscious on a bench in Salisbury on March 4.

Yulia, a Russian citizen, had arrived in the UK only the day before to visit her father, who has been living in Britain for some seven years.

Both were found by the UK to be suffering from the effects of poisoning by a nerve agent but they are now recovering in hospital.

The attack prompted the biggest Western expulsion of Russian diplomats since the Cold War as allies in Europe and the United States sided with London's view that Moscow was either responsible or had lost control of the nerve agent.

Moscow has hit back by expelling Western diplomats, questioning how the UK knows that Russia was responsible and offering its rival interpretations, including that it amounted to a plot by the UK's secret services.

The Russian embassy in London has sent a request for a meeting of its envoy with UK foreign minister Boris Johnson to discuss the case, the RIA news agency reported on Saturday.

"We hope for a constructive response from the British side and are counting on such a meeting in the very nearest future," the agency cited a spokesman for the Russian embassy saying.

The Foreign Office confirmed it had received the request for ambassador Alexander Yakovenko to meet Johnson.


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