By Greg Heffer — Sky News April 6, 2018
The cousin of Yulia Skripal has been refused a visa to come to Britain and visit her relatives in Salisbury District Hospital.
Viktoria Skripal wanted to travel from Russia to visit Yulia and Sergei Skripal as they recover from a nerve agent attack in the Wiltshire city, but has been denied entry to the UK.
Responding to the news her visa application has been refused, Viktoria told Sky News: “What am I supposed to feel?
“I was sure that this would happen. You all expected something else. Of course, I knew I would not be given one.
“They [the British] must have something to hide.”
A Home Office spokesperson said: “We have refused a visitor visa application from Viktoria Skripal on the grounds that her application did not comply with the Immigration Rules.”
It is understood Viktoria’s application was assessed according to the standard criteria and is free to make a further application to be considered by UK officials should she wish to.
Viktoria also told Sky News she believes Yulia and Sergei “ate something wrong” at a pub they visited before collapsing on a public bench in Salisbury.
Claiming neither Yulia nor her father Sergei believed they would be attacked, Viktoria said: “Until this situation is resolved, my opinion will remain with me.
“I will stick with a simple theory that they ate something wrong at the pub, as well as the option that Yulia brought this with her on the plane from someone she knew.”
Asked who she believes was behind the attack on her relatives, Viktoria replied: “I am not a fortuneteller.”
Pressed on whether Russian authorities had told her who they thought was to blame, she added: “They have an opinion and they can voice it themselves. I can’t stop them from expressing their opinion.
“I don’t know. I can only listen to their opinion.”
Viktoria, who revealed her life “has been turned 360 degrees” by the attack on her relatives, also said she did not know whether ex-spy Sergei or Yulia wanted to return to Russia.
She asked: “What does he have in Russia? His daughter has a small two-room apartment in Moscow.”
The UK Government is blaming Russia for the attempted murder of the Skripals using military-grade nerve agent novichok.
Yet, despite a growing diplomatic rift between London and Moscow over the attack, Viktoria said she was “sticking to neutrality”.
“I don’t have problems with either side,” she said.
“They are helping me as a human, as a citizen, everyone is helping me. Britain, Russia – no one is refusing help.”
Asked whether she believed she would ever see her cousin Yulia again, Viktoria replied: “I do not know how to answer this question. Hope is the last thing that dies.”
On Friday, Dr Christine Blanshard, medical director at Salisbury District Hospital, revealed Sergei is no longer in a critical condition and is “responding well to treatment” and “improving rapidly”.