Irina Petrova, known as Yulia, was just 15 when her father retired and went to work in the foreign ministry in Moscow.Born in 1984, she was fluent in English, Russian and Spanish, and worked at Moscow’s Nike branch after graduating from Russian State University, where she studied Geography.
But amidst the disbelief there was also a sense of déjà vu.
Investigation details classified on grounds of national security.” Speaking less delicately, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said on Tuesday that it looked as if the incident was “another crime in the litany of crimes that we can lay at Russia’s door”.
Bill Browder, a well-known critic of Vladimir Putin’s government, told Huff Post UK: “The first theory I would investigate would be that he was the victim of a Kremlin-sponsored assassination and I would run with that theory until it was proven otherwise.” He is not the only one claiming this case has one clear suspect.
So what really happened, and who is telling the truth? Sergei Skripal is a former Russian agent who was convicted, and later pardoned, for passing the identities of Russian secret agents in Europe to the UK’s Secret Intelligence Service (MI6).
Colonel Skripal, who has lived in Salisbury with his family since being given refuge in Britain, was one of four prisoners Moscow swapped for spies in the US in 2010. Skripal is said to have appeared to be leading a relaxed and quiet life though he went on frequent business trips, telling friends he was working mainly in cyber-security.