April 13, 2018 / 1:18 PM / a year ago

Russian envoy says UK spying claims about Skripals a 'big surprise'

LONDON (Reuters) - Russia’s ambassador to Britain said a claim by a British security advisor on Friday that Russia spied on former agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter for at least five years before they were attacked with a nerve agent was a “big surprise.”

“If someone was spying, why were the British services not complaining about that?” Alexander Yakovenko told reporters.

“They always complain if something goes wrong. We didn’t see any signs, any applications from the British side that they are not happy with the way Skripals were living in Salisbury.”

Sergei Skripal has been living in Britain since 2010 but his daughter only arrived last month, to visit her father.

Earlier on Friday, the national security adviser to Britain’s prime minister told NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in a letter that email accounts of Yulia had been targeted in 2013 by cyber specialists from Russia’s GRU military intelligence service.

Yakovenko said he had not seen the letter.

Reporting by Alistair Smout and Elisabeth O'Leary; Writing by William Schomberg; editing by Stephen Addison

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