UK still stopping Russian officials meeting nerve agent victims - Ambassador

Britain is continuing to block Russian officials from having physical access to nerve agent victims Sergei and Yulia Skripal, the country's ambassador to the UK has said.

Alexander Yakovenko reiterated his claim that Britain had "abducted" the pair as they recovered from the novichok poison attack in Salisbury, after holding talks with the Foreign Office.

Mr Yakovenko said the talks had not been constructive and that relations between the UK and Russia, which is accused of being behind the poisoning, were "really very low".

Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia Skripal.

He said that officials had met his request to meet the Skripals by saying "we are not ready to provide this sort of contact".

He told a press conference in London on Thursday that he was concerned for the health of the Russian citizens, telling reporters: "Two months has passed since the time when the poisoning happened in Salisbury.

To this day we haven't seen them, we have no information about their condition, we don't know what they are doing, what is their health, nobody saw their pictures, nobody talked to them... we have no information and we are really disappointed about that.

Statements released on the Skripals' behalf by police have said they do not want contact with Russian officials but Mr Yakovenko reiterated a desire to hear that from the Skripals "physically".

He added: "We have every kind of feeling to think that these two people were abducted."

A small amount of novichok is thought to have been used in liquid form to target former Russian agent Mr Skripal, 66, and his daughter, 33.

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

- PA

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