Sergei Skripal, the former Russian spy poisoned by nerve agent, discharged from British hospital
Russia has denied involvement in the first known offensive use of such a nerve agent on European soil since the second world war
Sergei Skripal, a former Russian spy who was left in critical condition by a nerve agent attack in Britain more than two months ago, has been discharged from hospital, national health authorities said on Friday.
Skripal, 66, a former colonel in Russia’s military intelligence who betrayed dozens of agents to Britain, and his daughter Yulia were found unconscious on a bench in the southern English city of Salisbury on March 4.
Russian President Vladimir Putin wished Skripal “good health”.
“God grant him good health ... If a military-grade poison had been used, the man would have died on the spot. Thank God he recovered and that he left [hospital],” Putin said during a press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. “We have several times offered our British partners any necessary assistance in the investigation [of the poisoning]. So far we have received no response. Our offer remains open.”
Britain’s accusations that Russia was behind the nerve agent attack led to a Russia-West crisis in which Western governments, including the United States, have expelled more than 100 Russian diplomats. Russia has denied any involvement in the poisoning and retaliated in kind.
The Skripals were in a critical condition for weeks and doctors at one point feared that, even if they survived, they might have suffered brain damage. But their health began to improve rapidly, and Yulia was discharged last month.
“It is fantastic news that Sergei Skripal is well enough to leave Salisbury District Hospital,” the hospital’s chief executive Cara Charles-Barks said in a statement.
Police have said they will not give any details of the Skripals’ new security arrangements in the interests of their safety and neither they nor the hospital gave any details of Sergei’s new whereabouts. Yulia was taken to a secure location after her release, the BBC reported at the time.
Britain and international chemicals weapons inspectors say the Skripals were poisoned with Novichok, a deadly group of nerve agents developed by the Soviet military in the 1970s and 1980s.
A spokeswoman for British Prime Minister Theresa May, who called the attack a “reckless and despicable act”, welcomed news of Skripal’s discharge.