A month after she was released from the hospital, Yulia Skripal has given her first interview to Reuters. On camera, Skripal looks healthy and youthful – and not at all like somebody who only recently survived poisoning with a “military grade” nerve agent.
Skripal and her father Sergei Skripal – a former Russian spy and double agent who was returned to the UK in a prisoner swap – were found unconscious outside a shopping center in Salisbury back in March after suffering an attack from what UK authorities have described as a Russian-made nerve agent.
Of course, Russian President Vladimir Putin has serious doubts about whether she was, in fact, poisoned with a military grade nerve agent. Putin once said that if Novichok had indeed been used on the Skripals like UK authorities say, they would’ve died almost instantly. Meanwhile, the UK hasn’t offered even a shred of proof to back up its claim that Russia was behind the Skripal attack, even as their European peers have questioned their claim that “Novichok” was only manufactured in Russia, where it was developed under the Soviet Union.
During her interview, Skripal didn’t comment on who she suspected was to blame for her poisoning, saying only that she’s still finding it difficult to come to terms with what happened.
“I still find it difficult to come to terms with the fact that both of us were attacked. We are so lucky to have both survived this attempted assassination. Our recovery has been slow and extremely painful,” she said.
“The fact that a nerve agent was used to do this is shocking. I don’t want to describe the details but the clinical treatment was invasive, painful and depressing.”
Skripal says she arrived in the UK on March 3, a couple days before the poisoning, to visit her father, whom she has visited regularly in the past.
“I came to the UK on the 3rd of March to visit my father, something I have done regularly in the past. After 20 days in a coma, I woke to the news that we had both been poisoned,” Skripal said.
While she said she was “grateful” for the Russian embassy’s offer of help, “at the moment I do not wish to avail myself of their services,” she said. “No one speaks for me, or my father, but ourselves,” Skripal said.
A spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry told RT that the Russians have been trying to check in with her to make sure she wasn’t being held against her will.
“We’d like Yulia Skripal to know that not a single day passed without the Foreign Ministry, Russia’s Embassy in London trying to reach her with the main purpose to make sure she was not held against her will, she was not impersonated by somebody else, to get the first-hand information about her and her father’s condition,” Maria Zakharova said.
Skripal said during the interview that the poisoning had turned her life “upside down” both “physically and emotionally”. She’s presently focusing on her own life and helping to aid in her father’s recovery.
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