“No one speaks for me, or for my father, but ourselves.”
Yulia Skripal’s statement to the Reuters news agency was short and to the point. It was the video that seems aimed at calming the conspiracy theories. Instead it’s fuelled social media speculation that in fact she was speaking under ‘duress’.
The two-minute video statement was her Skripal's appearance since the Salisbury nerve agent attack, which left her and her father in a critical condition. The scar on her neck attested to the “invasive, painful and depressing” medical treatment she required.
But once the video was released, every detail started to be dissected online. From Yulia’s choice of words to the way she walked.
Russia made their official position clear right away. The video strengthened Russian concerns that Yulia “could be held against her will and speaking under pressure”, their UK embassy tweeted.
Security Analyst Charles Shoebridge conceded that Yulia’s statement could be “entirely genuine”. However, he argued that Britain would take the same sceptical position “if such similarly rehearsed words had been made by a UK citizen in the ‘protective custody’ of #Russia”.
Twitter user Tim Hayward thought “it would also have been good if the broadcaster [Reuters] had been able to establish that she was not speaking under any duress.”
On the other side were those accusing Russia of peddling conspiracy theories.
Blogger Nelson Jones said the statement “will no doubt launch as many conspiracy theories as it dispels.”
Matthew Seddon tweeted “That someone who had to leave their home county for political reasons wants to return there one day, as per Yulia Skriple, isn't all that exceptional or unusual. Neither is it evidence of a conspiracy.”
The satirical cartoonist James Mellor said that conspiracy theorists “were out in force tonight over the #Skripal business. Everyone needs a hobby, I suppose.”
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The Cube team have contacted to Reuters for their comment on the conditions under which the interview was conducted. We will update when we have more information.
At the heart of Euronews' newsroom, The Cube is a newsdesk run by a team of journalists specialising in social discovery and verification. They comb through social media to find, verify, and debunk stories, in-real time, for our audiences on air and online.