[NOTE: An excellent video discussion of this article is here.]
Where are Sergei and Yulia Skripal? Are they still alive? Their having been poisoned in England on 4 March 2018 didn’t kill them.
Sergei Skripal is (or was) the Russian and British double agent (Russian spy who defected to UK), who had become imprisoned for six years in Russia, and then became spy-swapped to, and resided in, UK.
Yulia is (or was) his daughter, who happened to be visiting with him from Russia on that fateful day, which almost ended her life but which definitely did end her freedom.
The last time that either Sergei or Yulia were seen or heard from in news-media, was on 23 May 2018, shortly after both of them had been released by a British hospital from their poisoning.
They had been poisoned by a nerve agent which the UK Government said came from Russia, but the UK’s laboratory at Porton Down that had actually investigated the matter declined to confirm publicly this allegation from their Government, though the lab was under considerable pressure from the Government to confirm it.
At this sole occasion of public presentation by either of them, on 23 May 2018, only Yulia appeared. She was shown in a pre-scripted one-minute and thirty-eight second video, in which she spoke only in Russian, and this video was accompanied by a similarly brief and puzzling 23 May 2018 news-report from Reuters: “Exclusive: Yulia Skripal – Attempted assassination turned my world upside down”.
It said that “Skripal was speaking from a secret location in London as she is under the protection of the British state.” (As will here be documented, she wasn’t actually in London at the time, and both she and her father were now actually prisoners of the UK and U.S. Governments, without any trial and on no charges, and probably until they both will be dead — but that’s the question here: are they now already dead?)
Also: “Skripal spoke in Russian and supplied a statement that she said she had written herself in both Russian and English. She signed both documents after making her statement. She declined to answer questions after speaking to camera.”
The Reuters report also included this:
Read Skripal’s handwritten statements:
However, that’s a pdf of a photographic kind that cannot be scanned or searched and so it was specifically intended to discourage being quoted from, excerpted, or reported about, by other news-media. Unfortunately, no news-medium has taken the trouble to read it from that photograph and transcribe it by hand. Reuters has been successful at discouraging other media from reporting on this. Therefore, so as to make this complete transcript publicly available finally in an easily usable form, for the benefit of researchers and others, I’m doing that here, and this transcript will be Yulia’s complete statement, which was shown by Reuters in the form of a handwritten note only in English, though the video had her speaking only in Russian. No Russian transcript was supplied by Reuters, though their report alleges that a Russian original in her handwriting accompanied the English version. Here is this searchable transcript:
Good afternoon. My name is Yulia Skripal. I came to the UK on the 3rd of March to visit my father, something I have been doing regularly in the past. After 20 days in a coma, I woke to the news that we had both been poisoned. I still find it difficult to come to terms that both of us were attacked. We are so lucky to have both survived this attempted assassination. Our recovery has been slow and extremely painful. The fact that a nerve agent was used to do this is shocking. I don’t want to describe the details but the clinical treatment was invasive, painful and depressing.
I am grateful to all of the wonderful, kind staff at Salisbury hospital, a place I have become all too familiar with. I also think fondly of those who helped us on the street the day of the attack.
I was discharged from hospital on the 9th of April and continue to progress with treatment but my life has been turned upside down as I try to come to terms with the devastating changes thrust upon me both physically and emotionally. I take one day at a time and want to help care for my dad till his full recovery. In the longer term I hope to return to my country.
I wish to address a couple of issues directly and have chosen to interrupt my rehabilitation to make this short statement. I ask that everyone respects the privacy of me and my father. We need time to recover and come to terms with everything that has happened. I’m grateful for the offers of assistance from the Russian Embassy but at the moment I do not wish to avail myself of their services.
Also, I want to reiterate what I said in my earlier statement that no one speaks for me, or for my father, but ourselves.
Finally, I would like to again thank everyone involved in my continued care.
My focus remains on my recovery and my dad’s health.
That’s the last time the public has heard from either Yulia or her father.
Subsequently, on 8 December 2019, the Australian and American independent investigative journalist John Helmer, who reports from Moscow, published an article that conclusively located where Yulia had been speaking from in that video. He headlined there “THE SKRIPALS UNDER US CONTROL, AT A USAF NUCLEAR BOMBER BASE IN FAIRFORD, GLOUCESTERSHIRE” and he provided solid documentation that that video was filmed at that location, which wasn’t “in London.” So, the handling of the Skripals is both a UK Government and a U.S. Government deception-operation.
As I reported on 17 April 2020, a one-minute-and-forty-seven-second rushed phone call had been made by Yulia on 5 April 2018 from the British hospital, in which call she used coded language to inform her cousin Victoria Skripal, who was in Russia, that she and her father were being prohibited by the UK’s Government to communicate with the outside world, and, on the same day as that rushed phone call, Helmer reported that “In Moscow, her cousin Victoria Skripal has told the Russian press she has repeatedly tried to telephone her cousin on the latter’s Russian mobile telephone, but that this device has been disconnected.” So, there are clear indications that UK’s Government doesn’t want either Yulia or Sergei to be able to communicate ever again with the outside world. Furthermore, as I also stated in that article:
The “Court of Protection … Date 22/03/2018” proceeding, which seems to have determined their legal fate, didn’t even consult any of their relatives, and, according to John Helmer’s terrific book just issued, Skripal in Prison, (p. 74), also “The Russian Government was not consulted or informed in advance” about the proceeding, and therefore was allowed no role whatsoever in deciding the outcomes regarding these two Russian citizens. The UK Court’s ruling, on 22 March , stated that “Neither Mr Skripal nor Ms Skripal appear to have relatives in the UK although they appear to have some relatives in Russia. The SSHD [Secretary of State for Home Development] have not sought to make contact with them.” No explanation was provided on why. So, the Skripals are stranded.
That three-day court-hearing (it wasn’t a trial) occurred before either of the Skripals had awoken from their coma; so, they too had no role in it. They became prisoners of UK while under sedation. This is British ‘justice’ (or ‘Protection’). (Britain, of course, like the U.S., pontificates abroad about ‘human rights’ and invades foreign countries that it accuses of violating “human rights”; so, it’s bottom-of-the-barrel, not only rampantly violating human rights, but hypocritically pontificating about ‘human rights’.)
Their Russian relatives have been extremely concerned about all of this. On 11 April 2018, Britain’s Daily Mail showed a photo of “Yulia’s cousin, Viktoria Skripal, 45, protesting outside the British embassy in Moscow and demanding to be issued a visa to visit her stricken relatives in the UK”. It was futile.
No one outside can reach them, and they can’t reach anyone outside, except for a very few rushed phone-contacts that the UK allowed them until June this year to their Russian relatives, in order to keep those relatives as quiet as possible for as long as possible.
Furthermore, the last chapter of Helmer’s book opens:
“You kill traitors like you brush your teeth. It wasn’t a political matter, it was an operational matter,” a senior Whitehall official said of his Russian counterparts to Mark Urban, the BBC reporter whom MI6 assigned to write Sergei Skripal’s story a few months before it was somebody’s idea to finish it off; the book, if not Skripal.
The official and the reporter meant they had no doubt the Russian Government’s motive for attacking Skripal was a routine policy of killing. If that is as true as Urban and his Whitehall source intended for public consumption, Sergei and Yulia Skripal should be the first to say so.
That they are refusing is part of the case this book has compiled that the British Government’s narrative provides no evidence which the Whitehall man, his superiors and his underlings dare to submit in court, let alone allow for Freedom of Information Act release. The second part of the case is analysis of as much of the evidence as has been announced officially to demonstrate its improbability or prove its impossibility. When the first part is compared to the second, the third part of the case is the conclusion: the British Government’s case against Russia for attempted murder and chemical warfare is a lie.
That lie leaves Sergei Skripal free to brush his teeth. But he is in a prison which is far more solitary than the Russian ones in which he spent six years between 2004 and 2010. According to what Skripal told Urban in 2017, when Skripal still thought he was safe in Salisbury, he regularly received food packages and other comforts from his family during his Russian prison time. He also loved his family so much that – again according to Urban’s report – after he arrived in the UK he used to telephone his mother every two weeks over eight years. It is now clear he has not called home since June 26, 2019.
He’s either dying, or dead already, according to some Russian commentators.
Yulia Skripal has been cut off for almost a year longer – since July 24, 2018, the date of her grandmother’s 90th birthday. It is equally certain that neither Sergei nor Yulia are free to use a computer with internet access to communicate. Urban claims that after Yulia had come out of her coma and was still in Salisbury hospital, she “had already exchanged messages online” with her cousin Viktoria in Yaroslavl.
“What was to be done with him?” Urban ended his book in September 2018. “From the British government perspective it was better that he remain quietly out of view, even if a statement like Yulia’s might follow. In theory he was free to do or say anything, whether that be launching a blistering attack on the British government for failing to protect him from Putin’s assassins to pleading it had all been a terrible misunderstanding and could he go back to Russia now please.” Viktoria Skripal, though, “had shown them how, even starting with the best intentions, going public carried the risk of creating untold family pain as well as serving the Kremlin’s interests. Sergei and his daughter were so dependent on the British government at this time that there was every reason to follow the advice of those around them.”
According to Urban also, they don’t want to hide in the US. “There had been suggestions from Downing Street, while the Skripals were in hospital, that they might well end up in America or another English-speaking country, and be given new identities. Neither of them, I hear, particularly liked this idea.”
On 7 June 2020, the neoconservative (pro-imperialism) London Times headlined “Salisbury novichok poisonings: Sergei and Yulia Skripal move to New Zealand”, and unquestioningly asserted as if they were unquestionable facts (as neocon ’news’-media, actually propaganda-media, almost invariably do) the allegations by the routinely lying UK Government (a provably unreliable source regarding anything concerning its international relations). In this particular case, those ‘facts’ concerned the poisonings by Russia of Yulia Skripal and Sergei Skripal.
If Yulia and Sergei have both been executed by Britain’s Government, then the Times’s publication of an undocumented allegation by UK’s Government, that they had instead both been sent to New Zealand and given new identities there, is a convenient way for UK’s Government to avoid ever needing to face the public after having continually lied to the public by blaming Russia’s Government for the poisonings that had happened to both the father and the daughter.
If the Skripals have been provided new identities and sent to live in New Zealand, will they be freed from Britain’s imprisonment of them? Will, for example, they finally be freed from the condition that “neither Sergei nor Yulia are free to use a computer with internet access to communicate,” and will they be free to, for example, read newspapers and other media that are accessible online? Or will they still be in the ‘Protective’ custody of the UK Government, or will it then be of the NZ Government? And will they be able, for example, to resume real living, and maybe (if they wish) to write and publish books about what they can recollect about what has happened to them after 4 March 2018? Will the UK’s Government want that to happen? Will the UK’s Government, which has lied about so much, be comfortable about returning the Skripals’ freedom? Or, will it, instead, continue ‘protecting’ them?
Yulia Skripal was a Russian citizen who only shortly before her airline flight to UK to visit with her father, had become engaged in Russia to marry a fellow Russian (and none of the couple’s parents approved of their intended marriage; this caused both Yulia and her fiancé great distress), when, on 4 March 2018, she and Sergei were somehow poisoned by a chemical that UK’s Porton Down intelligence laboratory soon thereafter identified as being a “nerve agent” which might have been novichok, but whose source and country of origin the Porton Down lab was unable to identify with any certainty. UK’s Foreign Minister, Boris Johnson, said that Porton Down had identified the chemical as having been made in Russia, but he was simply lying, as he routinely does. (He’s famous for it, actually, like Trump is.)
Yulia’s father, Sergei, had been a Russian citizen who had served in Britain as a spy for Russia, who then switched sides to become a spy for UK against Russia. At some time in December 2004, right after returning from UK to Russia, he was taken into custody to be tried for treason for his having sold out to the country that his own country had hired him to spy against. Honor in the intelligence services is far lower than is honor among thieves (like Mike Pompeo very unprofessionally bragged publicly about his time heading the CIA, “We lied, we cheated, we stole”), but lying ‘news’-media nonetheless cite their own country’s top intelligence officials as if those people had been hired to tell the truth to the public, instead of to deceive the public into believing whatever the Government’s top officials want their public to believe about foreign countries. Yet the public trust the allegations by them that are stenographically reported by the ‘news’-media. (Think of the invasion of Iraq, for example.) Public statements by intelligence officials are believed only by fools, but that unfortunately includes most of the public anywhere, which is one of the reasons why democracies tend to descend into dictatorships, which are the actual default condition for any government anywhere. Democracy is unnatural, though it’s far better than is that natural default condition. Evil is natural, and good is not, but the propaganda lies about this fact, and pretends that good is natural and evil is not; so, it lies about what good and evil even are, and the public overwhelmingly believe the lies. The public have faith. (All else follows from that sad fact.)
On 9 August 2006, was reported, in Russia, that
the Moscow District Military Court sentenced former GRU colonel Sergei Skripal … [as having] worked for the British MI6 for nine years and exposed to UK the names of dozens of Russian intelligence officers who worked in Europe. For treason in the form of espionage, Sergei Skripal, who is compared with Oleg Penkovsky at the FSB, was assigned a 13-year term. At the same time, intelligence agencies threaten to expel diplomats with whom the spy allegedly collaborated.
Sergei, after having been in a Russian prison for six years on treason, was spy-swapped in 2010 back to UK.
Yulia Skripal is not as naive as the note that her captors required her to sign might suggest. If she or her father are still alive somewhere and not still being held captive by the UK regime or a regime that is allied with it, then one may expect that Yulia and/or Sergei will present a full account of what happened to them while they were in captivity by the UK regime and its allies such as the U.S. regime. Or else they might already have been killed — disappeared by UK, like Jamal Khashoggi was disappeared on 2 October 2018 by Saudi Arabia. Never to be heard from again. (And forgotten by that trusting, faithful, public.)
Had this poisoning been done actually by the UK Government in order to be able to create a pretext to expel Russian diplomats? As Wikipedia summarizes those consequences: “Later on 12 March, the British government accused Russia of attempted murder and announced a series of punitive measures against Russia, including the expulsion of diplomats, on the 14 March. The UK’s official assessment of the incident was supported by 28 other countries which responded similarly. Altogether, an unprecedented 153 Russian diplomats were expelled.”
I don’t pretend to be an expert on the Skripals’ cases, but clearly the UK Government has been lying through its teeth about them, and about what happened, and why. What’s especially sad to me is that so many people swallow the lies as if those were food instead of poison. What hope is there for democracy, in such a world? If people have faith in serial-lying governments, then what hope can there really be? What encouragement will there ever be for such governments to tell the truth?
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.