Russian poisoning victim Yulia Skripal, 33, who together with her father, Sergei Skripal, survived an assassination attempt in Salisbury, the United Kingdom, early in March 2018, has declined the Russian Embassy's offer of help.
"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," Skripal told Reuters in an exclusive statement on May 23, which was her first media appearance since the poisoning with a military-grade nerve agent of Russian origin.
Russia's ambassador in London, Alexander Yakovenko, has repeatedly demanded to see Yulia, who was a Russian citizen when she was poisoned.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he thought Yulia Skripal was speaking under duress.
Russia's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Russia had continuously tried to contact Ms Skripal "to get information direct from the source," the BBC said.
"We want Yulia Skripal to know that there was not a single day when the Russian foreign ministry and the Russian embassy in London did not try to arrange contact with her, with the chief aim of checking that she is not being held by force, that no one else is being passed off as her," Zakharova was quoted by the BBC as saying.
The Russian Embassy in the UK, in turn, expressed concern about the conditions of Yulia Skripal's accommodation. "The video shown only strengthens our concerns about the conditions in which she is being held," it said. "Obviously, Yulia was reading a pre-written text. More than that, judging by quite a few elements, the text was translated from English and had been originally written by a native English speaker," it added.
Skripal was speaking from a secret location in London as she is under the protection of the British state. She was discharged from Salisbury District Hospital about five weeks after the poisoning and has not been seen by the media until now, Reuters said.
Yulia Skripal said she would like to return to Russia in future. "In the longer term I hope to return home to my country," she said.
Yulia arrived in Britain from Russia at London's Heathrow Airport at about 1440 GMT on March 3 on one of her regular visits to her father. The pair were found unconscious a day later. She was in a coma for 20 days.