Russia have been spying on Skripals for five years, security adviser says

Yulia Skripal was poisoned with a nerve agent in England last month

The accusation came from Alexander Yakovenko, as he was updating the media on the developments in the Salisbury poisoning case.

Russian intelligence agencies have been spying on former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter for at least five years, a senior Government official has said in the latest twist in the Salisbury nerve agent attack.

Email accounts of Yulia had been targeted in 2013 by cyber specialists from Russia's GRU military intelligence service, Mark Sedwill said in a letter to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Friday.

"Only Russia has the technical means, operational experience and the motive", he writes.

The Russian Embassy has sensationally claimed poisoned former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia are being held prisoner by the UK.

It was the first incident of a nerve agent being deployed in Europe since World War II.

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Sedwill said that after the Soviet Union collapsed, Russian Federation signed the Chemical Weapons Convention without reporting its ongoing work on Novichoks.

The note demanded the withdrawal of one Georgian diplomat now serving in Moscow at the Swiss Embassy Interests Section, as Georgia and Russia have no diplomatic ties since the Russia-Georgia 2008 war and Switzerland has acted as a mediator. "We will do everything we can to establish the facts, to identify who was responsible and if at all possible, bring them to justice".

Russian Federation denies the British claims about Novichok, saying that it completed the destruction of all its Soviet-era chemical weapons arsenals a year ago under worldwide oversight.

The Skripals were targeted by a nerve agent attack that left both of them critically ill for weeks.

The British government has requested a special meeting with the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to discuss the findings.

The OPCW has completed its independent analysis of the chemical substance used in the Salisbury attack.

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"It is highly likely that Novichoks were developed to prevent detection by the West and to circumvent worldwide chemical weapons controls", he said.

In a news conference Friday afternoon, the Russian ambassador to Britain, Aleksandr V. Yakovenko, dismissed the letter and "all these allegations" surrounding the nerve agent attack as having "nothing to do with reality".

Mr Lavrov said the report only confirmed the composition of the substance and that Britain's claim that it confirmed the United Kingdom position on the Skripal case was overstated.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Moscow would not believe any conclusions about the poisoning unless Russian experts were given access to the investigation.

"It is highly likely that Novichoks were developed to prevent detection by the West and to circumvent global weapons controls".

Investigators from the watchdog said the nerve agent was "of high purity". Sergei Kripal remains hospitalised, but British health officials say he is recovering.

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