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Yulia Skripal turns down Russian Embassy offer

April 11, 2018

In her first statement since being discharged from hospital following the nerve agent attack in Salisbury, issued by the Met Police on her behalf, the 33-year-old said she did “not wish to avail” herself to the services of the embassy – and warned that nobody speaks for her or her father Sergei other than themselves.

She thanked her cousin Viktoria Skripal “for her concern”, but asked her not to try to visit or contact her after a series of media interviews in which she speculated over the nature of the attack and her relatives’ recovery.

:: ‘Miracle’ recovery: How the Skripals survived the novichok attack

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Ms Skripal has again thanked staff at Salisbury District Hospital for their “obvious clinical expertise” and “kindness”, adding that she has missed the doctors and nurses who looked after her.

She continued: “I have left my father in their care, and he is still seriously ill. I too am still suffering with the effects of the nerve agent used against us.

“I find myself in a totally different life than the ordinary one I left just over a month ago, and I am seeking to come to terms with my prospects, whilst also recovering from this attack on me.

“I have specially trained officers available to me, who are helping to take care of me and to explain the investigative processes that are being undertaken.”

:: ‘Our family needs to be together’ – Viktoria Skripal

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Video:Skripal niece: ‘I’ve not heard from Yulia’

The statement released on Wednesday evening was the first time Ms Skripal had commented on the welfare of her 66-year-old father, a former Russian double agent.

She said that while her own recovery was going well, she was still trying to “come to terms with my current situation”.

It has now been more than five weeks since she and her father were found slumped on a bench in central Salisbury on 4 March after they were poisoned, prompting international condemnation of Russia for its alleged involvement.

Ms Skripal, who was taken to a secure location after leaving hospital, said she hoped to one day be strong enough to give a full media interview on the incident.

:: Hopes raised Skripals could assist police investigation

Yulia Skripal

Video:Yulia Skripal thanks the people of Salisbury

But she added: “Until that time, I want to stress that no one speaks for me, or for my father, but ourselves. 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.

“For the moment I do not wish to speak to the press or the media, and ask for their understanding and patience whilst I try to come to terms with my current situation.”

Regarding the offer from the Russian Embassy, which has previously said it had not been granted consular access to Ms Skripal, she said: “At the moment I do not wish to avail myself of their services, but, if I change my mind I know how to contact them.”

:: Russian TV crew kicked out of Salisbury hospital after ‘appalling’ stunt

The reporter says the "central building of Salisbury hospital is not secured"

Video:Russian reporter thrown out of hospital

Responding to the statement the Russian embassy in London sounded a sceptical note describing it as an “interesting read.”

It said: “As before, we would like to make sure that the statement really belongs to Yulia.” It also referred to the fact that Ms Skripal has yet to be seen in public.

It concluded: “To sum up, the document only strengthens suspicions that we are dealing with a forcible isolation of the Russian citizen.

“If British authorities are interested in assuring the public that this is not the case, they must urgently provide tangible evidence that Yulia is alright and not deprived of her freedom.”

Ms Skripal’s statement comes a day before the chemical weapons watchdog plans to publish its report into the attack.

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has been investigating since last month, having rejected a request from Moscow for it to be involved.

Sergei Skripal and Yulia Skripal
Image:Sergei and Yulia Skripal

A Foreign Office spokesman said: “In line with established practice they (the OPCW) have now shared a final copy of the report with us, as the requesting state.

“We have asked them to distribute this version to all state parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention, including Russia, tomorrow and to publish the executive summary for all to see at 12pm.

“This transparent and open approach, which we have pursued from the outset, is in sharp contrast to the Russian state’s ongoing tactics of obfuscation and distraction.”

Russia has maintained its sceptical stance on the case – which prompted the UK and its allies to impose diplomatic sanctions against the state – and disputes the British explanation that the Skripals were poisoned by novichok.

Its embassy had also accused Britain of moving Ms Skripal from hospital against her will, and responded to her statement by claiming that “the situation around them (Yulia and Sergei) looks more and more like a forceful detention or imprisonment”.