Published: Sat, May 26, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Yulia Skripal says nerve agent attack turned her life upside down

Yulia Skripal says nerve agent attack turned her life upside down

The daughter of a former Russian double agent who was poisoned in the United Kingdom this year said in her first interview since the attack that her "life has been turned upside down". "Our recovery has been slow and extremely painful".

The Kremlin said on Thursday it was skeptical about Yulia Skripal's first media appearance since she and her father Sergei were poisoned by a nerve agent in England, saying it was unclear if she had been talking of her own free will.

Yulia Skripal, 33, was in a coma for 20 days.

Yulia was discharged from a local hospital last month, and her father last week.

Ms Skripal, who was attacked on 4 March and left hospital on 9 April, said in a pre-prepared statement filmed by the Reuters news agency at an unspecified location in London: "I still find it hard to come to terms with the fact that both of us were attacked".

Speaking to Reuters at a secret location in London, she spoke in Russian and supplied a statement that she said she had written herself in both Russian and English.

"My life has been turned upside down and right now I am trying to come to terms with incredible changes in my life, both physical and emotional".

The UK blames Russian Federation for the poisoning, a charge Moscow vehemently denies.

The statement made no mention of the diplomatic crisis sparked between Russian Federation and Britain over the poisonings.

Russian Federation has repeatedly demanded consular access to Yulia Skripal, saying worldwide law gives it the right to talk to its own nationals. "But at the moment I do not wish to avail myself of their services", she said.

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

Ms Skripal added she would be taking "one day at a time" and that she hoped to care for her father until he is fully recovered. The Skripals were found a day later in a comatose condition on a park bench in the centre of Salisbury. She added that she was now focused on helping her father to make a full recovery, and that "in the long term I hope to return home to my country".

Sergei Skripal is a former Russian intelligence officer who was convicted of spying for Britain before coming to the part of a 2010 prisoner swap. Skripal did not comment on who she thought was to blame for her poisoning. "I still find it hard to come to terms with the fact that both of us were attacked in a such a way".

Russia's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Russian Federation had continuously tried to contact Ms Skripal "to get information direct from the source".

Britain says the Russian state poisoned the Skripals with a Soviet-designed nerve agent dubbed Novichok that likely was smeared on the door handle of Sergei Skripal's suburban house.

"I don't want to describe the details but the clinical treatment was invasive, painful and depressing", she said in Russian. Moscow has repeatedly denied any involvement in the poisoning and accused the British intelligence agencies of staging the attack to stoke anti-Russian hysteria. "We have no reason to trust or believe in this", Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said of the video.

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