NEWS
23/05/2018 17:56 BST | Updated 24/05/2018 08:34 BST

Yulia Skripal: First Picture Released After Salisbury Poisoning

'My life has been turned upside down'.

Yulia Skripal has said she wants to go back to Russia after she and her father were poisoned with a nerve agent.

Skripal, 33, and former Russian spy Sergei Skripal, 66, were exposed to the novichok agent on March 4 in Salisbury.

They were both admitted to Salisbury District Hospital along with Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey. Yulia was in a coma for 20 days.

“The fact that a nerve agent was used to do this is shocking,” Skripal told Reuters news agency in her first statement since the attack.

“My life has been turned upside down. I woke to the news that we had both been poisoned.

Dylan Martinez / Reuters

“We are so lucky to have both survived this attempted assassination. Our recovery has been slow and extremely painful,” she said in her written English statement.

“As I try to come to terms with the devastating changes thrust upon me both physically and emotionally, I take one day at a time and want to help care for my Dad till his full recovery. In the longer term I hope to return home to my country.”

Skripal spoke in Russian and supplied a statement that she said she had written herself in both Russian and English. She signed both documents after making her statement.

She declined to answer questions after speaking to camera.

Handout . / Reuters

British Prime Minister Theresa May said the Skripals were poisoned with Novichok, a deadly group of nerve agents developed by the Soviet military in the 1970s and 1980s. May blames Russia for the poisoning.

It was the first known use of a military-grade nerve agent on European soil since World War Two. Allies in Europe and the United States sided with May’s view and ordered the biggest expulsion of Russian diplomats since the height of the Cold War.

Russia retaliated by expelling Western diplomats. Moscow has repeatedly denied any involvement and accused the British intelligence agencies of staging the attack to stoke anti-Russian hysteria.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he thought Yulia Skripal was speaking under duress.

“We have not seen her or heard from her,” he said when asked to comment on the story.

Yulia Skripal statement in full

“I came to the UK on the 3rd of March to visit my father, something I have done regularly in the past.

“After 20 days in a coma, I woke to the news that we had both been poisoned.

“I still find it difficult to come to terms with the fact that both of us were attacked. We are so lucky to have both survived this attempted assassination. Our recovery has been slow and extremely painful.

“The fact that a nerve agent was used to do this is shocking. I don’t want to describe the details but the clinical treatment was invasive, painful and depressing.

“I am grateful to all of the wonderful, kind staff at Salisbury hospital, a place I have become all too familiar with. I also think fondly of those who helped us on the street on the day of the attack.

“I was discharged from hospital on the 9th of April and continue to progress with treatment but my life has been turned upside down as I try to come to terms with the devastating changes thrust upon me both physically and emotionally.

“I take one day at a time and want to help care for my Dad till his full recovery. In the longer term I hope to return home to my country.

“I wish to address a couple of issues directly and have chosen to interrupt my rehabilitation to make this short statement. I ask that everyone respects the privacy of me and my father. We need time to recover and come to terms with everything that has happened.

“I’m grateful for the offers of assistance from the Russian Embassy but at the moment I do not wish to avail myself of their services.

“Also, I want to reiterate what I said in my earlier statement that no one speaks for me, or for my father, but ourselves.”