Sergei Skripal’s state of health “is improving rapidly,” according to the hospital where the former Russian spy has been recovering since he and his daughter were poisoned by the nerve agent Novichok in the English city of Salisbury in March. The 66-year-old former double agent is “responding well to treatment, his condition is improving rapidly, he is no longer in critical condition,” said doctors at Salisbury Hospital.
The state of health of his 33-year-old daughter, Yulia Skripal, who was also hospitalised, is improving “daily”, said doctor Christine Blanshard. “She is looking forward to the day she can get out of the hospital.”
Russia continues to deny any involvement in the poisoning. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Friday accused London of “feverishly seeking every day the confirmation of their indefensible position”.
The British position “will remain indefensible until the United Kingdom accepts frankly (…) to put all the facts on the table,” he said. Lavrov was reacting to an article in the The Times newspaper, quoting sources in the British security services, as saying that the military grade nerve agent used to poison Sergei Skripal was prepared in Chikhany, a Russian city banned from entry without official authorisation.
Vil Mirzaïanov, the chemist who revealed the existence of this program in the 1990s, said in a book that it was developed in the 1980s in Chikhany. Another Russian scientist, Leonid Rink, told the Russian news agency Ria Novosti in March that a “large group of specialists was developing Novichok in Moscow and Chikhany”.
In September 2017, President Vladimir Putin declared that Moscow had destroyed its last chemical weapons reserves inherited from the Cold War era, in accordance with the terms of the 1997 Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.