Russian embassy requests info from UK on condition of ex-spy's pets

Russian embassy requests info from UK on condition of ex-spy's pets
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The Russian Embassy in the U.K. requested information about the condition of a poisoned ex-Russian spy's pets on Thursday. 

"We have learnt from Mr Skripal’s niece, Viktoria, that there were two cats and two guinea pigs living at Mr Skripal’s place," the Russian Embassy in the U.K. wrote on its website. "We don’t have any information on their whereabouts or condition, and the otherwise well informed British media are silent in that regard. Meanwhile, to learn the fate of the animals is important not only from the point of view of Mr Skripal’s property rights, but also as a matter of animal welfare and, most importantly, in the context of the ongoing investigation."

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"To better understand what happened to Sergey and Yulia Skripal, it is essential to know if the animals also suffered from chemical poisoning. We have therefore officially requested the Foreign Office to provide us with the respective information, including on whether the animals are receiving any treatment."

Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, were the victims of a nerve-agent attack in Salisbury, England, last month. 

The British government has blamed Russia for the attack, while the Kremlin has denied involvement. Russia has demanded access to the U.K.'s evidence regarding the attack. U.K. investigators said the spy was likely originally poisoned at his home.

Over two dozen countries, including the U.S. and the U.K., announced last month that they would expel Russian officials as punishment for the poisoning of the Skripals. 

Russia hit back by expelling dozens of foreign diplomats, including 60 American officials, and shuttering the U.S. consulate in St. Petersburg. 

Yulia Skripal, who is recovering from the attack, issued her first statement on Thursday, saying her "strength was growing daily."

"I am sure you appreciate that the entire episode is somewhat disorientating, and I hope that you’ll respect my privacy and that of my family during the period of my convalescence," Skripal said.