Nerve agent victim Yulia Skripal rebuffs cousin, Russian offers of help

Yulia Skripal, one of the victims of the nerve agent attack in the English city of Salisbury in March, has said she i...

Posted: Apr 12, 2018 9:20 AM
Updated: Apr 12, 2018 9:20 AM

Yulia Skripal, one of the victims of the nerve agent attack in the English city of Salisbury in March, has said she is "safe and feeling better" but finds herself "in a totally different life than the ordinary one I left just over a month ago."

In a statement released Wednesday through London's Metropolitan Police, two days after she was discharged from hospital, Skripal said that "specially trained officers" are helping to take care of her as she tries to come to terms with her situation.

Skripal, 33, regained consciousness in late March, several weeks after the poisoning that left her and her father, former Russian spy Sergei Skripal, 66, in critical condition. The pair were found slumped on a bench in Salisbury -- where Sergei Skripal lived -- on March 4 after being exposed to military-grade nerve agent Novichok, according to British authorities.

The UK government blames Russia for the attack, but Moscow has denied any involvement. The incident has led to a spiraling diplomatic dispute between Russia and the UK.

Christine Blanshard, medical director of Salisbury District Hospital, said Tuesday that the condition of Sergei Skripal was also improving, albeit at a slower pace than Yulia. Her location is currently unknown and the Metropolitan Police have refused to comment on whether she is receiving police protection.

In her statement Wednesday, Yulia Skripal said that she had been treated "with obvious clinical expertise and ... kindness" but that she is "still suffering with the effects of the nerve agent" and that her father remains "seriously ill."

"I am safe and feeling better as time goes by, but I am not yet strong enough to give a full interview to the media, as I one day hope to do," she said.

She also confirmed that she has access to family and friends and is aware of the offers of assistance from the Russian embassy.

"At the moment I do not wish to avail myself of their services," she said, "but, if I change my mind, I know how to contact them."

Russian officials have spoken publicly about their requests to access Yulia Skripal in the days and weeks after the attack -- and about their offers of help since she regained consciousness. In a tweet on Tuesday, the Russian embassy in the UK asked for "urgent proof that what is being done to her is done on her own free will."

In her statement, Yulia Skripal also addressed her cousin Viktoria's media appearances in Russia and asked for her not to visit or try to contact her.

Viktoria Skripal has appeared on Russian television several times since the nerve agent attack, once providing a recording of a phone conversation allegedly between herself and Yulia. She has also applied for a UK visa, a request that has been denied.

"I want to stress that no one speaks for me, or for my father, but ourselves," Yulia Skripal said in her statement. "I thank my cousin Viktoria for her concern for us, but ask that she does not visit me or try to contact me for the time being. Her opinions and assertions are not mine and they are not my father's."

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