Friday 22 June 2018

'My strength is growing daily' - daughter caught up in spy attack makes recovery

Yulia Skripal (33), poisoned almost a month ago with her father Sergei, is recovering in hospital. Photo: AP
Yulia Skripal (33), poisoned almost a month ago with her father Sergei, is recovering in hospital. Photo: AP

Harry Yorke in London

Yulia Skripal has confirmed that she is recovering in hospital and her "strength is growing daily" in her first statement since the Salisbury attack.

The 33-year-old has finally spoken almost a month after she was found unconscious on a bench in the English town alongside her father Sergei Skripal, a former Russian spy. Both were claimed to have been poisoned with the nerve agent novichok.

It came just hours after Russian state TV broadcast an interview with Ms Skripal's cousin, who claimed to have spoken to her in a phone call from hospital.

Goodwill

In a statement issued by Scotland Yard yesterday, Ms Skripal said: "I woke up over a week ago now and am glad to say my strength is growing daily. I am grateful for the interest in me and for the many messages of goodwill that I have received.

"I have many people to thank for my recovery and would especially like to mention the people of Salisbury that came to my aid when my father and I were incapacitated.

"Further than that, I would like to thank the staff at Salisbury District Hospital for their care and professionalism."

It followed the airing of what was reported to be a phone call between Ms Skripal and her cousin Viktoria broadcast on the Rossiya-1 channel.

Ms Skripal said her father Sergei "is all right" and "sleeping". "Everyone is recovering, everyone survived... No irreparable harm was done," she added.

Viktoria said she wanted to visit her relatives in Britain and bring Yulia back to the "motherland".

Mr Skripal's niece said the British embassy had promised to do "everything possible" to get her a visa. She is expected to travel to Britain within days.

Moscow's ambassador to the UK Alexander Yakovenko yesterday attacked the UK's handling of the Salisbury attack.

Smiling throughout a press conference, he denied Russia had ever made novichok.

Mr Yakovenko denied allegation after allegation, including the claim that President Vladimir Putin had stated "traitors would kick the bucket", despite video footage of him doing so.

He said there was no evidence and "the whole story about novichok started in the United States in the 1990s. It is nothing to do with Russia. We never produced it."

British security sources claimed to have identified the Russian laboratory where the novichok was manufactured.

Security minister Ben Wallace said the UK would not release more intelligence in order to placate those questioning the investigation as to do so would put people's lives at risk.

Irish Independent

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