The daughter of the former Russian double agent was the real target of the nerve agent attack that has left them both fighting for life, his niece has claimed.
Victoria Skripal has alleged that Yulia, 33, argued with her boyfriend’s mother, a highly-ranked Russian security official, after he said they wanted to start a family.
Her prospective mother-in-law was said to have been upset that he wanted to marry into the family of a man viewed as a ‘traitor’ by many in Moscow.
Yulia, 33, and Sergei Skripal, 66, are both fighting for their lives following the poison plot
Investigators at The Mill pub in Salisbury yesterday after the incident nearby on March 4
And sources close to the Skripals have claimed that the plot in Salisbury on March 4 may have been to stop the boyfriend’s family being tainted, reported The Sun.
Victoria, 45, of Yaroslavl, told Russian TV station Mash Telegram: ‘My opinion is that it was done not against Uncle Sergei, but against his daughter.
‘The mother didn’t accept Yulia and thought that, if she was a traitor’s daughter, then she herself would betray her country.’
She added that Sergei Skripal, 66, is a ‘very decent man’ who ‘breathed, ate and drank’ and was ‘was busy with his cats and guinea pigs in his garden’.
The Mill pub in Salisbury is among the areas of Salisbury being investigated by detectives
A tarpaulin is hung over railings near to the scene in the Maltings in Salisbury yesterday
But Victoria said he was still mourning the death of his son Alexandr, also known as ‘Sasha’, last year and was hoping to put a new stone on his grave in Salisbury.
She added: ‘He said that Sasha had a new grave stone erected. In other words, the whole chat could have been described in the words ‘everything’s fine’.
‘Yulia came because it was the beginning of March and Sasha’s birthday was on March 1. This would have been the first birthday they would celebrate without him.’
Last night the US threw its diplomatic weight behind the UK as Britain braces itself for Russian retaliation after Theresa May hit back at Moscow over the attack.
Soldiers wearing protective clothing in Gillingham, Dorset, as the probe continues yesterday
Soldiers load an Ashley Wood recovery vehicle onto an Army vehicle in Salisbury yesterday
As the Kremlin made it clear it is readying its response to the biggest expulsion of its embassy staff since the Cold War, the US came down firmly on Britain’s side.
Announcing sanctions in the House of Commons, the PM said the attack amounted to ‘an unlawful use of force by the Russian state against the United Kingdom’.
Mrs May announced the suspension of high-level contacts with Russia, including a boycott of this summer’s World Cup by Government ministers and the royal family.
She added that Russian state assets will be frozen ‘wherever we have the evidence that they may be used to threaten the life or property of UK nationals or residents’.
The prospective mother-in-law has not been named and has not responded to the claim. Russia has fiercely rejected suggestions that it was involved in the poison plot.