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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 17 December 2018

Yulia Skripal discharged from Salisbury hospital

Ms Skripal has been taken to a secure location for ongoing medical treatment

Yulia Skripal, daughter of former Russian Spy Sergei Skripal, taken from her Facebook account. Yulia Skripal/ Facebook via AP
Yulia Skripal, daughter of former Russian Spy Sergei Skripal, taken from her Facebook account. Yulia Skripal/ Facebook via AP

Yulia Skripal, the daughter of the Russian spy targeted in the Salisbury nerve agent attack, has been discharged from hospital, a UK health official confirmed on Tuesday.

"We have now discharged Yulia from Salisbury District Hospital," Dr Blanshard said from Salisbury District Hospital said.

"This is not the end of her treatment but a significant milestone."

No date has been set for Ms Skripal's father Sergei Skripal, to be released from hospital.

Dr Blanshard said the 66-year-old former double agent, was recovering "more slowly than Yulia", although he has responded well to treatment.

Ms Skripal left hospital on Monday and was taken to a secure location where she will receive ongoing medical treatment. She was hospitalised on March 4 after being exposed to the nerve agent Novichok.

Both Skripals were in a critical condition when they were discovered on a park bench in Salisbury.

The UK government blames Russia for the chemical attack, but Moscow denies any involvement.

Boris Johnson, the UK’s foreign secretary tweeted on Tuesday: “Wonderful that Yulia Skripal is out of hospital and here’s to her full and speedy recovery. Thanks again to the incredible NHS staff in Salisbury. I wish Sergei Skripal all the best and hope he recuperates quickly too.”

Senior sources have said that the pair will be offered new identities in the US to keep them safe. MI6 intelligence agency have reportedly had discussions with their counterparts in the CIA about resettling the victims poisoned last month in the English city of Salisbury.

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The Russian embassy in London congratulated Ms Skripal on her recovery on Twitter but said it needed “urgent proof that what is being done to her is done on her own free will”.

The embassy’s press office said it would be a “gross violation of international law” if the Skripals were resettled in the US on a statement on the embassy’s website.

“The world, while having no opportunity to interact with them, will have every reason to see this as an abduction of the two Russian nationals or at least as their isolation,” the press office said in response to a resettlement question.

Viktoria Skripal, a relative of the pair, told Sky News on Tuesday that she believed her cousin Yulia would be pressured to stay in the UK.

"I think Britain will insist that she claims asylum," she told the broadcaster. "I've tried lots of numbers for her but have had no response.”

Viktoria Skripal said she had had a visa application to travel to the UK rejected last week.

"How should I feel? I'm feeling pleased that she's well enough to be released from hospital,” she said in a phone call in Russian.

"So far my feelings are unclear because I have not seen her and nobody has seen her, we've just had information."

The Russian embassy requested a meeting between Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko and the UK foreign secretary on Saturday to discuss the poisoning of the Skripals.

"We believe that it is high time to arrange a meeting between Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson in order to discuss the whole range of bilateral issues, as well as the investigation of the Salisbury incident," the Russian embassy said.

The UK Foreign Office said it would respond to Russia's request "in due course" and described Russia's response to questions about the chemical attack as "unsatisfactory".

“Now, after failing in their attempts in the UN and international chemical weapons watchdog this week and with the victims’ condition improving, they seem to be pursuing a different diversionary tactic," the Foreign Office said in an emailed statement.