Ex-spy Sergei Skripal 'no longer in critical condition' after poisoning

Ex-spy Sergei Skripal 'no longer in critical condition' after poisoning

Speculation is mounting that Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia could be able to offer officers investigating the Salisbury nerve agent attack missing clues as the pair continue to recover.

The former double agent is "responding well to treatment, improving rapidly and no longer in a critical condition", Salisbury District Hospital said.

Mr Skripal, 66, and his 33-year-old daughter Yulia were left fighting for their lives in hospital after being found unconscious on a park bench in Salisbury on March 4.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said the improvement in the condition of Mr Skripals was "great news" and "testament to the quick work" of the emergency services.

Police believe Mr Skripal and his daughter, who was visiting him from Russia, first came into contact with the Novichok agent at his home in Salisbury, Wiltshire.

Ms Skripal made her first public comments on Wednesday shortly after Russian TV reported that she had contacted her cousin Viktoria in Moscow to say she and her father were recovering and that she would soon be discharged.

The UK authorities have refused to grant Viktoria Skripal a visa to come to Britain, with the Home Office saying her application "did not comply with the immigration rules".

The improvement in Mr Skripal's condition was revealed by Dr Christine Blanshard, medical director at Salisbury District Hospital, who said speculation about when the two could be released from hospital was "just that - speculation".

The Foreign Office said the pair were "likely to have ongoing medical needs".

The Russian Embassy said it hoped the improvement in the Skripals' health will "contribute to the investigation of the crime perpetrated against them".

Moscow has denied being responsible for the poisoning of the Skripals but the incident has plunged diplomatic relations between Russia and the West into the deep freeze.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "We are very pleased that both Mr Skripal and his daughter Yulia are improving. This is a tribute to the hardworking and talented NHS staff in Salisbury who have provided outstanding care.

"The NHS will continue to provide ongoing care for the Skripals, both of whom are likely to have ongoing medical needs.

"Let us be clear, this was attempted murder using an illegal chemical weapon that we know Russia possesses."

Meanwhile, Russia continued to raise questions about the fate of the pets at Mr Skripal's home.

Two guinea pigs were found dead at the property and a cat, which was found in a distressed state at the house, was put down.

The Russian Embassy said: "Regarding the dead guinea pigs and the malnourished cat, it is said unofficially that they were taken to the Porton Down facility and incinerated there.

"But it remains unclear if their remains were ever tested for toxic substances, which would constitute useful evidence, and if not, why such a decision was made.

"Overall, it is difficult to avoid the impression that the animals have been disposed of as an inconvenient piece of evidence."

More on this topic

Russia ‘thought they would get away with’ Salisbury attack, says Jeremy HuntRussia ‘thought they would get away with’ Salisbury attack, says Jeremy Hunt

Novichok victim Charlie Rowley questions Russian ambassador over partner’s deathNovichok victim Charlie Rowley questions Russian ambassador over partner’s death

Novichok poisoning: Intelligence services probed 'unusual' activity at Russian embassy in LondonNovichok poisoning: Intelligence services probed 'unusual' activity at Russian embassy in London

Salisbury to be declared decontaminated after Novichok poisoningSalisbury to be declared decontaminated after Novichok poisoning

More in this Section

Prince Andrew has no regrets about Epstein friendship, but final visit was wrongPrince Andrew has no regrets about Epstein friendship, but final visit was wrong

Donald Trump undergoes health check-upDonald Trump undergoes health check-up

Prince Andrew could not have slept with accuser ‘because he was at Pizza Express’Prince Andrew could not have slept with accuser ‘because he was at Pizza Express’

Jeremy Corbyn hails Labour manifesto that gives ‘promise of a better Britain’Jeremy Corbyn hails Labour manifesto that gives ‘promise of a better Britain’


Lifestyle

Eclectic as ever, Esther N McCarthy eyes up a Cocteau collectible, fab craft items, and a luxury gift that keeps on giving.Wish List: Eclectric as ever

My children are now at an age where they are beginning to forge friendships outside of the parameters of their school.Lindsay Woods: 'My daughter has a friend... She’s the C C to her Hillary'

More From The Irish Examiner