Published: Tue, April 10, 2018
Global | By Enrique Rogers

Sergei and Yulia Skripal offered new identities with Central Intelligence Agency help

Sergei and Yulia Skripal offered new identities with Central Intelligence Agency help

The former Russian spy who was found slumped in an English city after being poisoned is no longer in critical condition and is "improving rapidly", the hospital treating him said Friday.

They had been poisoned with a toxic nerve agent called Novichok. Russian Federation denies the accusation.

Dr Christine Blanshard, medical director at Salisbury District Hospital, said: "Following intense media coverage yesterday, I would like to take the opportunity to update you on the condition of the two remaining patients being treated at Salisbury District Hospital".

Yulia Skripal, 33, regained consciousness last week and is now in stable condition, she said.

The first public comments by Yulia Skripal since the poisoning emerged on Thursday.

And, in the last few days there has been even speculation that Viktoria Skripal is being manipulated by the Kremlin.

Scientists said the Skripals' recovery was not unprecedented.

The Times report came after the British defence laboratory analysing the nerve agent said that it could not say whether the substance came from Russian Federation.

"Poisoning does not necessarily result in death", said Michelle Carlin, a senior lecturer in forensic and analytical chemistry at Northumbria University.

Britain blamed Russia for the poisoning, calling it attempted murder, and asked Moscow to explain what happened but Russia denies any involvement and has suggested Britain itself carried out the attack to stoke anti-Russian hysteria.

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Moscow, which continues to deny accusations that it was behind the attack, had asked the United Kingdom government to provide information about the fate of the animals and suggested their incineration represented the disposal of an "inconvenient piece of evidence".

Lavrov, speaking on a trip to Belarus, said British officials have engaged in "frantic and convulsive efforts to find arguments to support their indefensible position" instead of producing evidence.

Lavrov said Britain and its Western allies are wrong if they expect Russian Federation to "confess to all deadly sins" it did not commit.

On Thursday, Ms Skripal spoke for the first time since the poisonings and said her father was "sleeping", raising hopes that both may recover and give investigators vital clues about how and why they were targeted. She gave no indication when Yulia or her father could be released.

The remains of the 66-year-old's two guinea pigs and cat, which died in the aftermath of the attack, were incinerated after being examined at Porton Down. The pets were found by the team after the property was sealed off for more clues from the home.

"A cat was also found in a distressed state and a decision was taken by a veterinary surgeon to euthanise the animal to alleviate its suffering", the spokeswoman said.

The Russian Embassy in London said earlier Saturday Yakovenko had sent a "personal note" to Johnson asking for the meeting.

The paper said its sources believed Britain would want to ensure their safety by resettling them in one of the so-called "five eyes" countries, the intelligence-sharing partnership that also includes the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Information for this article was contributed by Jill Lawless, Nataliya Vasilyeva, Vladimir Isachenkov, Danica Kirka and Edith Lederer of The Associated Press; and by Avi Selk, Natasha Abbakumova and Paul Sonne of The Washington Post.

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