Nerve agent attack: Relative says Skripals are 'getting better'

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Yulia Skripal has told a relative both she and her father are "fine" and "getting better", according to Russian state TV.

The 33-year-old daughter of ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal, 66, is reported to have told her cousin by phone that neither she nor her father had health problems that could not be fixed.

The pair have been in hospital since being poisoned by the nerve agent attack in Salisbury last month, which the UK Government has blamed on Moscow.

Ms Skripal is quoted as having told the cousin: "Everything is fine, everything is fixable, everyone is getting better."

Asked about her father, Ms Skripal is said to have added: "Everything is fine, he is resting, sleeping. Everyone's health is fine."

Ms Skripal was also reported to have claimed she would soon be discharging herself from hospital.

Russian state TV has aired what it says is a phone conversation between Ms Skripal and her cousin Viktoria Skripal, which it said it obtained from the latter.

The Russian Ambassador to the UK, Alexander Yakovenko, told reporters he could not confirm reports that Ms Skripal was "getting better", saying the British have not informed Russia of her condition.

But he said it was a "good opportunity" for Moscow to ask the Foreign Office "once again" about the condition of the Skripals.

Mr Yakovenko added: "A good opportunity for us to remind about our questions, which were posed maybe five times, something, and didn't get any answers."

Last week, Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust said that Ms Skripal was "improving rapidly" and was no longer in a critical condition.

However, Mr Skripal remained in a critical but stable condition, doctors added.

It was reported at the time that Ms Skripal was conscious and talking.

On 22 March, a UK court order ruling doctors could take blood samples from the Skripals - in order to send to international chemical weapons experts - said their exposure to a nerve agent had had an "unclear" effect on their long-term effect.

A judge noted medical tests indicated the Skripals' "mental capacity might be compromised to an unknown and so far u ascertained degree".

On the same day, police officer Nick Bailey, who was also exposed to the nerve agent after responding to the Skripals' poisoning, was discharged from hospital.

Ms Skripal's reported comments come as the diplomatic rift between the UK and Russia over the Salisbury attack escalated further.

The Kremlin claimed the UK would not be able to ignore their "legitimate questions" over the incident, ahead of a UN Security Council meeting later on Thursday.

The UK Government holds Russia responsible for the use of military-grade nerve agent novichok in the Wiltshire city.

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