Skri­pals to be of­fered wit­ness pro­tec­tion amid safety fears

The Sunday Telegraph - - Front page - By Steve Bird and Christo­pher Hope

BRITISH po­lice are draw­ing up plans to guar­an­tee the safety of the Sal­is­bury poi­son­ing vic­tims once they are dis­charged from hos­pi­tal.

A govern­ment source last night told The Sun­day Tele- graph that the UK au­thor­i­ties had a “duty of care” to both Sergei Skri­pal and his daugh­ter, Yu­lia.

There are se­ri­ous con­cerns the pair’s lives re­main at risk after their at­tempted mur­der in Wilt­shire last month. While Mr Skri­pal, the 66-year-old for­mer dou- ble agent, be­came a British cit­i­zen when he came to the UK, his daugh­ter re­mains a Rus­sian cit­i­zen.

For Bri­tain to help the pair, a se­nior po­lice of­fi­cer will first is­sue the Skri­pals with a so-called “Os­man warn­ing”, a for­mal no­ti­fi­ca­tion that in­tel­li­gence sug- gests there is a real and im­me­di­ate “threat to life”.

They may be placed un­der a wit­ness pro­tec­tion pro­gramme that could in­volve a “safe house” and they might be given round-the-clock armed po­lice pro­tec­tion and even re­ceive new iden­ti­ties.

A govern­ment source said “I am sure we will” look at ways to keep them safe.

How­ever, they added that it was “in­ap­pro­pri­ate to spec­u­late” about the pos­si­bil­ity of a safe house.

MI6 of­fi­cials have also held dis­cus­sions with their CIA coun­ter­parts about re­set­tling the Skri­pals in the US, said The Sun­day


Re­fer­ring to Ms Skri­pal, 33, who is thought to be fit enough to be dis­charged soon, an­other source said: “We will pro­vide a duty of care to her, as she re­quests.”

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