YULIA Skripal has said her strength is “growing daily” after the nerve agent attack which left her and her father in intensive care.
Her first public comments since the March 4 attack were released shortly after Russian TV reported that she had contacted a relative in Moscow to say she and Sergei Skripal were recovering and that she would soon be discharged from hospital.
Russia has appealed for the UK to issue visas for relatives to visit the Skripals in hospital in Salisbury, where they are being treated for exposure to nerve agent Novichok.
Moscow has called a meeting of the United Nations Security Council to discuss the incident, with foreign minister Sergey Lavrov saying the UK has “legitimate questions” to answer about what happened.
But security minister Ben Wallace said it was “beyond reasonable doubt” that Russia was to blame for the attack, as the UK sought to maintain diplomatic pressure over the incident.
Ms Skripal’s statement was released as, at a press conference at the Russian embassy in London, ambassador Alexander Yakovenko repeated Moscow’s denial of responsibility for the attack.
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson’s claim that Russia maintained a stockpile of Novichok “likely for assassination” was “untrue… not supported by any evidence … unacceptable”, he said.
Mr Yakovenko denied that Russia had ever produced the Novichok nerve agent and said there were “a lot of suspicion about Britain” in relation to a string of deaths of Russian citizens over the past decade.
In her first statement since coming out of a coma, Yulia Skripal, 33, said: “I woke up over a week ago now and am glad to say my strength is growing daily. I am grateful for the interest in me and for the many messages of goodwill that I have received.”
In the statement released by the Metropolitan Police, she thanked healthcare workers at Salisbury District Hospital as well as “the people of Salisbury that came to my aid when my father and I were incapacitated”.
And she said: “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.”
Earlier, Russian media reported that Ms Skripal had told her cousin Viktoria that her father Sergei was “alright”, adding: “Everyone is recovering, everyone survived… No irreparable harm was done. That’s all, I will soon be discharged from the hospital.”
Mr Yakovenko said that Yulia’s sister had been waiting for two days for a visa to come to Britain to visit her in hospital.
“We believe this is a humanitarian case and we could expect that the visa would be issued as fast as possible,” he said. “Everything is in the hands of the British Government.”