Russia claims that Yulia Skripal is being held 'against her own will' after first interview since poisoning

Nick Reilly
Yulia Skripal, who was poisoned in Salisbury along with her father, Russian spy Sergei Skripal, speaks to Reuters in London, Britain, May 23, 2018. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

Russia has reiterated concerns that the daughter of an ex-Russian spy poisoned in Salisbury is being ‘held against her own’ will, after she gave her first appearance since leaving hospital.

Yulia Scribal and her father, Sergei, was left fighting for their lives after the pair were exposed to nerve agent Novichok on March 4.

In her first interview since the attack, Ms Skripal told Reuters of her horrific ordeal, and confirmed that she hopes to return to Russia.

‘After 20 days in a coma, I woke to the news that we may have been poisoned’, she said.

‘I still find it difficult to come to terms with the fact that both of us were attacked in a such a way.’

In the interview, Ms Skripal also thanked the Russian embassy for offering to assist the pair, but confirmed that they were ‘not ready to take it’.

‘I don’t want to describe the details, but the clinical treatment was invasive, painful and depressing’, she is heard to say in the clip.

‘Our recovery has been slow and extremely painful.’

In the video, a scar on Ms Skripal’s neck can also been seen, which is believed to be from a tracheotomy to help her breathe.

But while Ms Skripal seems well on the road to recovery, the Russian Embassy has suggested once more that she may be held against her own will.

‘We are glad to have seen Yulia Skripal alive and well. The statement she read out contains new information. However, the video shown only strengthens our concerns as to the conditions in which she is being held’, the Embassy confirmed in a statement.

Sergei Skripal and his daughter were found poisoned in March.

‘Obviously, Yulia was reading a pre-written text. More than that, judging by quite a few elements, the text was a translation from English and had been initially written by a native English-speaker. The handwritten letters signed by Yulia in Russian and English confirm this impression.

‘With all respect for Yulia’s privacy and security, this video does not discharge the UK authorities from their obligations under Consular Conventions.

‘The UK is obliged to give us the opportunity to speak to Yulia directly in order to make sure that she is not held against her own will and is not speaking under pressure. So far, we have every reason to suspect the opposite.’

Ms Skripal was first released from hospital in early April, before the release of her father followed earlier this month.