Sunday 19 August 2018

Yulia wants to go home to Russia – but not yet

Poisoning victim 'shocked' by attack

Yulia Skripal was out and about in a location in London yesterday and thanked hospital staff for saving her and her father’s lives. Picture: PA
Yulia Skripal was out and about in a location in London yesterday and thanked hospital staff for saving her and her father’s lives. Picture: PA

Rachael Burnett

Yulia Skripal has said she wants to go back to Russia after she and her father were poisoned with a nerve agent.

Ms Skripal (33) and former Russian spy Sergei Skripal (66) were exposed to the Novichok agent on March 4 in Salisbury in the UK.

They were both admitted to the District Hospital along with police sergeant Nick Bailey, who had helped them.

The British Government said it is "highly likely" the Kremlin was behind the attack, which the Russian government has repeatedly denied.

Ms Skripal said she hopes to return to her home country "in the longer term" but does not want assistance from the Russian Embassy.

She added she was "shocked" to wake up from a coma 20 days later and discover they had been poisoned.

"I still find it difficult to come to terms with the fact that both of us were attacked," she continued.

"We are so lucky to have both survived this attempted assassination.

"Our recovery has been slow and extremely painful.

"The fact that a nerve agent was used to do this is shocking."

Speaking in Russian, Ms Skripal described her treatment as "invasive, painful and depressing" and said she is "grateful to all of the wonderful, kind staff at Salisbury hospital".

"I also think fondly of those who helped us on the street on the day of the attack," she added.

Ms Skripal gave her statement yesterday at a location in London and asked for privacy for herself and her father.

"We need time to recover and come to terms with everything that has happened," she added.

She continued: "I was discharged from hospital on April 9 and continue to progress with treatment but my life has been turned upside down as I try to come to terms with the devastating changes thrust upon me both physically and emotionally.

"I take one day at a time and want to help care for my dad till his full recovery.

"In the longer term I hope to return home to my country. I'm grateful for the offers of assistance from the Russian Embassy but at the moment I do not wish to avail myself of their services."

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he thought Ms Skripal was speaking under duress.

"We have not seen her or heard from her," he said.

"I'm grateful for the offers of assistance from the Russian Embassy. But at the moment I do not wish to avail myself of their services," said Ms Skripal, who wore a light blue summer dress and bore a scar on her throat.

"Also, I want to reiterate what I said in my earlier statement, that no one speaks for me or for my father but ourselves."

Mystery surrounds the attack. The motive is unclear, as is the logic of using a nerve agent which has overt links to Russia's Soviet past.

President Vladimir Putin, himself a former KGB spy, said earlier this month that Mr Skripal would have been dead if he was attacked with a weapons grade agent.

Irish Independent

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