Russian spy: Daughter discharged from hospital

Yulia Skripal, the poisoned daughter of Russian ex-spy Sergei, has been discharged from hospital.

The 33-year-old left Salisbury District Hospital on Monday and has been taken to a secure location.

The hospital said: “This is not the end of her treatment but marks a significant milestone.”

Her 66-year-old father remains in hospital and is “recovering more slowly than Yulia”. Doctors hope he will be discharged “in due course”.

The pair were taken to hospital on 4 March after being exposed to the toxic nerve agent Novichok.

The father and daughter were found slumped on a park bench in the centre of Salisbury.

Wiltshire Police Det Sgt Nick Bailey, who attended the scene, was also treated in hospital after being exposed to the nerve agent, but has since been discharged.

A statement from Ms Skripal released through the Metropolitan Police last week said her “strength is growing daily”.

Mr Skripal remains at Salisbury District Hospital but is no longer in a critical condition.

Medical director Dr Christine Blanshard said he has made “good progress”, adding: “Although he’s recovering more slowly than Yulia we hope he too will be able to leave hospital in due course.”

The UK government says Russia was behind the poisoning, and Prime Minister Theresa May said Moscow was “culpable” for attack.

But the Russian government denied any involvement and has accused the British of inventing a “fake story”.

Theresa May welcomed the news of Ms Skripal’s discharge from hospital and wished her the best for her recovery.

In a tweet, the Russian Embassy congratulated Ms Skripal on her recovery but said: “We need urgent proof that what is being done to her is done on her own free will.”

Meanwhile, on Sunday the Bishop of Salisbury will host a “service of cleansing and celebration” for the attack victims, followed by a procession to the site where the Skripals were found.

Police said the pair first came into contact with the nerve agent at their home.

The BBC’s health and science correspondent James Gallagher said Novichok prevents enzymes called acetylcholinesterase from functioning normally at nerve junctions, including those required to keep the heart beating.

He said: “But over time, the nerve agent is metabolised and excreted by the body and new acetylcholinesterase is made.

“The question is whether doctors can keep patients alive long enough for that to happen.”

BBC security correspondent Gordon Corera said the highest concentration was found on the Skripals’ front door handle.

Traces of Novichok were also found at the Mill and Zizzi in Salisbury, where the Skripals spent the afternoon.

Investigators identified 131 people who had potentially been in contact with the nerve agent, and up to 500 people who visited the pub or the restaurant were told to wash their clothes and possessions.

bbc.com

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