Yulia Skripal issues video statement

Adjust Comment Print

Yulia Skripal speaks to a journalist on Wednesday in London following her March poisoning with a nerve agent in Salisbury along with her father, former Russian spy Sergei Skripal.

Yulia further stated, as quoted by the media agency, that she and Sergei Skripal "were lucky to survive an attempted assassination", adding that she was shocked that a nerve agent was used to attack her and her father.

Instead, Ms Skripal said that neither she nor her father, who was released from hospital last week, wished to "avail" themselves of offers of assistance from Russia's London embassy. Later, London stated that this agent was designed in Russian Federation and blamed Moscow for being behind the incident based on this assumption.

The 33-year-old told Reuters that she feels "lucky to be alive" after she was exposed to a suspected Soviet-era nerve agent in Salisbury, Wilts, on March 4.

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

Her treatment had been taxing and her recovery hard, she said. Yulia described her medical treatment following the attack as "invasive, painful and depressing".

Yulia was in a coma for 20 days, and both have been moved to secure locations since being discharged from hospital. In a series of counter-accusations, Russia's ambassador to the UK, Alexander Yakovenko, has suggested that British security services were behind the operation.

In April, she made a similar comment in a statement issued through police. Moscow has repeatedly denied any involvement and accused the British intelligence agencies of staging the attack to stoke anti-Russian hysteria.

The Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Reuters he believed that Yulia Skripal's latest statement had been made under duress. Her father, a former GRU intelligence officer, was discharged last week.

In a statement, it said: "The UK is obliged to give us the opportunity to speak to Yulia directly in order to make sure that she is not held against her own will and is not speaking under pressure".

"Overall, considering we are talking about a fairly unprecedented worldwide provocation against Russian Federation that was unleashed by Britain and London, we maintain our distrust and have every reason to do so".

Detectives have said that novichok was smeared on the front doorhandle of Sergei Skripal's semi-detached Salisbury home.

"We want Yulia Skripal to know that there was not a single day when the Russian foreign ministry and the Russian embassy in London did not try to arrange contact with her, with the chief aim of checking that she is not being held by force, that no one else is being passed off as her", she added.

Skripal arrived in Britain from Russian Federation at London's Heathrow Airport on March 3 on one of her regular visits to see her father.

Skripal, recruited by British spies while in Spain, ended up in Britain after a Cold War-style spy swap that brought 10 Russian spies captured in the United States back to Moscow in exchange for those accused by Moscow of spying for the West. Russian President Vladimir Putin recently noted that if Novichok had been used, the Skripals would have died nearly instantly.

"I am grateful to all of the wonderful, kind staff at Salisbury hospital, a place I have become all too familiar with".