The mysterious boyfriend of Salisbury attack victim Yulia Skripal disappeared after the murder plot and has not been seen for three years, a source claims.
Allegations that Stepan Vikeev had been involved with the Russian secret services arose after he vanished after his girlfriend Miss Skripal and her double agent father Sergei Skripal, 68, were poisoned with a Russian nerve agent on March 4 2018.
They father and daughter were found unconscious on a park bench in Salisbury, Wiltshire, three years ago today after Russian agents smeared deadly novichok on the door-handle of Mr Skripal’s home.
Miss Skripal, 35, and her boyfriend Mr Vikeev, 32, had reportedly planned to get married and start a family together before the poisoning – despite their parents’ disapproval, a source claimed.
Allegations that Stepan Vikeev had been involved with the Russian secret services arose after he vanished after his girlfriend Miss Skripal and her agent father Sergei Skripal were poisoned
However a friend told Mirror: ‘No one has seen him. He has vanished off the face of the earth. There are two schools of thought – the first was that he was a ‘honeytrap’ involved with the Russian authorities right from the very start. Therefore he is now being protected by the FSB in a safe house where no one will find him.
‘Or has his mother, who is very wealthy, whisked him away?’
The source added that Mr Vikeev’s mother had not been supporting of his relationship with Miss Skripal and had been ‘hostile’ to her because of her ‘traitor’ spy father.
Moscow security sources previously claimed Mr Vikeev, 32, works for a secretive company called the Institute of Modern Security Problems. The clandestine organisation was run by his mother Tatiana who was said to be an ‘integral part’ of the FSB, which replaced the KGB at the end of the Soviet Union.
Yulia Skripal. Russia’s media have also been unable to locate any trace of Mr Vikeev
Yulia Skripal, who was poisoned in Salisbury along with her father, Russian spy Sergei Skripal
Previously sources had said Mr Skripal had not been fond of his daughter’s boyfriend Mr Vikeev.
A source close to the family said: ‘Sergei had reservations about Stepan but she told her father she wanted to be with Stepan.’
Miss Skripal was said to be very upset when she attempted to call Mr Vikeev but he did not answer his phone after she made a remarkable recovery in hospital.
Russia’s media have also been unable to locate any trace of Mr Vikeev.
Yulia Skripal, left, and her father Sergei, both survived an attempted assassination which has been blamed on Russian security services who used a nerve agent Novichock
Both Miss Skripal and her father survived the poisoning though Mr Skripal, who was jailed in Russia in 2006 for selling secrets to MI6, required a tracheotomy and now breathes through a tube.
The attack later claimed the life of mother-of-three Dawn Sturgess, who is thought to have come into contact with the nerve agent after picking up a perfume bottle in a public park.
Skripal and his daughter Yulia, who have spent two years in an MI6 safe house after surviving a novichok poisoning attack – want to start a new life Down Under, according to security insiders.
Sources previously told The Mail on Sunday that the father and daughter are desperate to leave the UK for either Australia or New Zealand after effectively living under house arrest since the attack.