Yulia Skripal, the Russian woman who was poisoned in Britain with her former spy father, has been discharged from a hospital and whisked off to a secure location, according to reports.
“This is not the end of her treatment but marks a significant milestone,” said Dr. Christine Blanshard, medical director of the District Hospital in Salisbury, where the poisoning took place March 4.
“Her father has also made good progress,” Blanshard said, according to Reuters. “On Friday I announced he was no longer in a critical condition. Although he is recovering more slowly than Yulia, we hope that he too will be able to leave hospital in due course.”
Yulia, 33, and Sergei Skripal, 66, a former colonel in Russian military intelligence who betrayed dozens of spooks to the British intelligence service, were found unconscious on a public bench after they were poisoned with the Russian nerve agent Novichock.
Russia has vehemently denied any involvement, but the incident led to a spiraling diplomatic row between the two nations. Britain, the US and other countries have expelled scores of Russian diplomats while Moscow has retaliated in kind.
Blanshard, who gave the first details about the medical treatment, said nerve agents work by attaching themselves to certain enzymes in the body that then stop the nerves from functioning — creating sickness and hallucinations.
She said doctors had first sought to stabilize the Skripals to ensure they could breathe and that blood could circulate.
“We then needed to use a variety of different drugs to support the patients, until they could create more enzymes to replace those affected by the poisoning,” she said. “We also used specialized decontamination techniques to remove any residual toxins.”
The Russian embassy in London said: “We congratulate Yulia Skripal on her recovery. Yet we need urgent proof that what is being done to her is done on her own free will.”
The day before the poison attack, Yulia had arrived in England from Moscow to spend Easter with her father, who had been recruited by Britain’s MI6 and was arrested for treason in Moscow in 2004.
He ended in Britain after being swapped in 2010 for Russian spies captured in the US.
In a short statement issued through London police last week, Yulia said: “I woke up over a week ago now and am glad to say my strength is growing daily.”
According to a report in the Sunday Times of London, the UK wants to resettle the Skripals in one of the so-called “five eyes” countries: Britain, the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
“The obvious place to resettle them is in America, because they’re less likely to be killed there and it’s easier to protect them there under a new identity,” an intelligence source told the paper.
With Post wires