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World News

Russian ambassador gets note saying Skripals in critical condition - RIA

Sergei Skripal, a former colonel of Russia's GRU military intelligence service, looks on inside the defendants' cage as he attends a hearing at the Moscow military district court, Russia August 9, 2006. Picture taken August 9, 2006. Kommersant/Yuri Senatorov via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVE.

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia’s ambassador to London said he had received a diplomatic note informing him that Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia are in a critical condition, but that Britain was “hiding” further details, RIA news agency reported on Friday.

Alexander Yakovenko told the Russian agency the information was “not enough” for Russia.

“The British keep hiding the medical assessment from us, we do not have access to the patients, we do not have a chance to talk to the doctors,” it quoted the ambassador as saying.

“No one has even published the photo (of the Skripals). They may be alive, maybe not, maybe nothing happened at all.”

“We are expected to take everything on trust, and that is inadmissible,” RIA quoted him as saying.

Relations between the two countries have crashed to a post-Cold War low over an attack on Sergei Skripal, a former Russian spy for the West, and his daughter Yulia in the southern English city of Salisbury on March 4.

Britain says they were poisoned with a nerve agent developed by the Soviet military. The pair have been gravely ill in hospital since.

Britain has pointed the finger at President Vladimir Putin and on Thursday Prime Minister Theresa May gave 23 Russians who she said were spies working under diplomatic cover at Yakovenko’s embassy a week to leave.

Russia has denied any involvement in the Skripal case and suggested London fabricated the attack in an attempt to whip up anti-Russian hysteria.

Reporting and writing by Denis Pinchuk; Editing by Andrew Roche

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