Disinfo: Yulia and Sergey Skripal held hostage in UK


Yulia and Sergey Skripal are isolated and held against their will, given the few public appearances the two poisoning survivors have made since April 2018.


No evidence given. Russia's long-running claim that the UK Government is keeping the Skripals in prison-like conditions fits the broader pro-Kremlin narrative painting the Salisbury poisoning as an anti-Russian conspiracy.

The story draws on a recent report published by the Russian Embassy in London, which cites the Skripals' low media profile as evidence of their unlawful detention. The claim shifts the burden of disproving Moscow's unfounded accusation on the UK, and is thus an argument from ignorance.

The article also claims that, in an address recorded on 23 May 2018, Yulia was made to "read from a prepared text which had obviously been pre-written in English" and translated to Russian, implying that the woman is effectively held hostage. The assertion has been rebutted by an expert in Russian linguistics.


  • Reported in: Issue 140
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 05/03/2019
  • Language/target audience: English
  • Country: UK, Russia
  • Keywords: novichok, Sergei Skripal, Conspiracy theory


Cases in the EUvsDisinfo database focus on messages in the international information space that are identified as providing a partial, distorted, or false depiction of reality and spread key pro-Kremlin messages. This does not necessarily imply, however, that a given outlet is linked to the Kremlin or editorially pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. EUvsDisinfo publications do not represent an official EU position, as the information and opinions expressed are based on media reporting and analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force.

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