Poisoned Russian double agent Sergei Skripal is said to have had a secret ex-girlfriend in Salisbury who is too afraid to come forward with information.
The mystery woman, understood to also be from Russia, had been dating the 66-year-old and has been left ‘terrified’ by the nerve agent attack in the Wiltshire city on March 4.
She could potentially have knowledge of his whereabouts in the crucial period which led to his poisoning along with his daughter Yulia.
The pair remain in a critical condition after they were poisoned with the highly lethal nerve agent Novichok.
Sergei Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia, 33 (pictured) remain in critical condition following being poisoned with the highly lethal nerve agent Novichok
Russia has vehemently denied any responsibility for the poisoning
A mutual friend of Mr Skripal and his former girlfriend told the Sunday Telegraph the mystery woman was too frightened to come forward because of the possible repercussions.
The source told the paper: ‘She is incredibly scared. When she saw the news about what happened she said to me, “That’s my ex-boyfriend”. She’s really worried.’
Although it is not known if she does hold any crucial information, she is said to be too afraid to tell police about Mr Skripal’s whereabouts on the days leading to the attack because she doesn’t want to be publicly identified.
It comes a day after a friend of the former spy revealed Mr Skripal wrote to Vladimir Putin asking to be pardoned and to be able to visit his home country.
The former Russian intelligence officer, who came to Britain in 2010 as part of a spy swap, regretted being a double agent and wanted to visit his family, his friend Vladimir Timoshkov said.
The attempted assassination sparked an diplomatic crisis between Russia and Britain, which has been supported by its allies in apportioning blame to the Kremlin.
On Friday, EU leaders promised an ‘unprecedented’ diplomatic response to the attack after backing Theresa May’s assertion that Moscow was responsible.
Meanwhile, the EU is recalling its ambassador to Russia for ‘consultations’ on the Salisbury attack.
Russia has vehemently denied any responsibility for the poisoning, while on Sunday Vladimir Chizhov, Russia’s EU ambassador, said that ‘from the legal point of view the Russian state had nothing against him (Mr Skirpal)’.
The 66-year-old was accused of working for MI6 over several years, in particular disclosing the names of several dozen Russian agents working in Europe.
Vladimir Chizhov (pictured) Russia’s EU ambassador, said that ‘from the legal point of view the Russian state had nothing against Mr Skirpal
He was sentenced to 13 years in a high-security prison in August 2006, before being freed in the 2010 deal which saw 10 Russian sleeper agents expelled from the United States.
Police detective sergeant Nick Bailey (pictured) who was left seriously ill after he was exposed to the poison as he went to the Skripal’s aid
Mr Timoshkov, who has known Mr Skripal since school, did not see himself as a traitor as he had sworn an oath to the Soviet Union, according to the BBC.
‘Many people shunned him. His classmates felt he had betrayed the Motherland,’ he said.
‘In 2012 he called me. We spoke for about half an hour. He called me from London. He denied he was a traitor… (he told me) he wrote to Vladimir Putin asking to be fully pardoned and to be allowed to visit Russia. His mother, brother and other relatives were (in Russia).’
Russia’s ambassador to the UK sent his well wishes to Mrs Skripal and his daughter on Friday, saying he hoped for their recovery.
Alexander Yakovenko wrote to Wiltshire Police detective sergeant Nick Bailey, who was left seriously ill after he was exposed to the poison as he went to the Skripal’s aid.
Mr Bailey said his experience had been ‘completely surreal’ after he was discharged from hospital.