The poisoned daughter of a Russian spy had a phone taken away from her while she spoke to her aunt from her hospital bed, the relative claims.
Viktoria told a Russian TV station that she could hear the phone being taken away from her niece and the “British side” did not expect that their brief conversation would be recorded.
Yulia and her father Sergei, 66, were both critically ill after they were poisoned in Salisbury, Wiltshire, a month ago, but she is now conscious and talking as her condition improves.
Russian officials want to visit her in hospital and her aunt is trying to obtain a visa to travel to the UK to see her for the first time since the attack.
Viktoria, from Yaroslavl and the most outspoken family member since the poisoning, told REN TV that the phone conversation lasted just one minute and 42 seconds.
She said her niece sounded “healthy” and was on the verge of tears when “it was audible that the phone was being taken away” form her.
A recording of the conversation has been obtained by Russian media, but it hasn’t been independently verified whether Yulia was the woman speaking to Viktoria.
The Kremlin has denied Britain’s accusations that Russia was involved in the poisoning and has challenged the UK to provide evidence supporting its claims.
Sergei was a former Russian military intelligence colonel who was granted refuge in the UK, where he settled in Salisbury, after he was jailed in Moscow for revealing secrets to MI6.
The spy was pardoned and released as part of a Cold War-style spy swap between Russia and the US.