Skripal relative quoted on Russian state TV says Yulia and Sergei 'getting better': 'Everyone's health is fine'

A woman purporting to be Yulia's cousin says she expects to be discharged from hospital soon

Samuel Osborne
Thursday 05 April 2018 13:48 BST
Recording of alleged phone call between Skripal daughter and her cousin broadcast on Russian state TV

Yulia Skripal has said she and her father Sergei Skripal are “getting better,” according to unverified audio played by Russian state TV.

The transcript details a conversation between Yulia, who along with her father was poisoned by a military-grade nerve agent in Salisbury last month, and her cousin Viktoria.

During the conversation, Yulia told her cousin ”everyone’s health is fine” and that her father was "resting", according to audio played on the Rossiya-1 TV station.

The channel stressed that the authenticity of the phone call had not been verified. The audio was released before Yulia said in a statement, released by the Metropolitan Police, that she woke up over a week ago and her strength was "growing daily".

In the recording played on Russian state TV, the voice purporting to be Yulia's said neither of the Skripals had health problems which could not be fixed.

She said she and her father were recovering and she expected to leave hospital soon.

In a statement issued through the Met, Yulia said the “entire episode is somewhat disorientating”.

She said: “I woke up over a week ago now and am glad to say my strength is growing daily.

“I am sure you appreciate that the entire episode is somewhat disorientating, and I hope that you’ll respect my privacy and that of my family during the period of my convalescence.”

Members of the emergency services in green biohazard suits work near the bench where former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found in a critical condition (Getty)

Britain blames Russia for the attack, which Moscow denies.

In response to the poisoning, Britain and more than two dozen of its allies, including the US and Nato, expelled over 150 Russian spies in a show of solidarity.

The novichok nerve agent left the Skripals in critical condition, but on 29 March, the hospital where they were being treated said Yulia was getting better.

The BBC, citing sources, said she was “conscious and talking.”

Both state TV and Interfax said Yulia had phoned Viktoria on Wednesday evening and said: “Everything is fine, everything is fixable, everyone is getting better, everyone is alive.”

When asked about her father’s health, Yulia was cited as saying: “Everything is fine, he is resting right now, sleeping. Everyone’s health is fine, nobody has any problems that can’t be put right. I will soon be discharging myself [from hospital].”

Earlier, Viktoria said she plans to travel to England and bring Yulia back to Russia.

Police offers inspect the scene of the nerve-agent attack in Sailsbury (Getty Images)

Appearing on Rossiya-1’s 60-minutes show on Wednesday night, where pundits and Russian MPs cast the nerve agent attack as part of an elaborate British plot to besmirch Russia, she said she had applied for a British visa, but was unsure whether British authorities would allow her to see her cousin or her uncle.

“I currently have one objective: to fly there and take away Yulia, at least Yulia,” Viktoria said, adding that Yulia had always been very distant from politics.

“It’s a lot more complicated with Sergei.”

Viktoria said she was in regular contact with Russia’s ambassador to London, Alexander Yakovenko, and he had helped her obtain a Russian passport to travel.

She said British authorities had given her no assurances she would be able to see Yulia. She said even if she arrived at the hospital it would be up to Yulia if a meeting took place.

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