Daughter of ex-spy speaks out after nerve agent attack

Police in protective suits at the shopping centre in Salisbury where former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found critically ill,
Police in protective suits at the shopping centre in Salisbury where former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found critically ill,
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Yulia Skripal, who was poisoned alongside her father in Salisbury last month, says she has found herself in a "totally different life" as she continues to recover from the nerve agent attack.

A diplomatic battle has been raging between the UK and Moscow about whether the Russian embassy should be allowed access to the 33-year-old daughter of ex-spy Sergei Skripal.

Ms Skripal, found critically ill alongside her 66-year-old father Sergei Skripal on a bench last month, was discharged from a hospital in Salisbury, Wiltshire, this week, and said she does not wish to avail herself of the Russian embassy's services.

She said she was "seeking to come to terms" with her prospects, while still recovering.

And she stressed that "no one speaks for me, or for my father, but ourselves."

In a statement, issued by Scotland Yard, Ms Skripal said: "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.

"I have access to friends and family, and I have been made aware of my specific contacts at the Russian Embassy who have kindly offered me their assistance in any way they can.

"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.

"Most importantly, 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.

"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."

Ms Skripal said she was treated with "such kindness" at Salisbury District Hospital, and is missing the staff there.

"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," she said.

It is believed that British authorities immediately spirited Ms Skripal away to a secure location when she was discharged from hospital.

The Russian embassy reacted angrily, suggesting in a series of tweets that the Russian national had been taken against her will.

Russia remains the prime suspect for carrying out the attack on Mr Skripal and his daughter.

On Wednesday morning, it suggested reports Ms Skripal had turned down consular assistance actually revealed she is being "held hostage by the same people who destroy evidence and fail to come up with a single official account of the crime".

The former double agent Mr Skripal was jailed in Russia for selling secrets to MI6 but was released as part of a spy swap deal in 2010 and settled in the UK.

The international chemical weapons watchdog, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, is to publish its report into the Salisbury nerve agent attack on Thursday, the Foreign Office has said.

"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," the spokesman said.