Ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal discharged from Salisbury hospital after poisoning
(CNN) — Sergei Skripal, the former Russian spy poisoned with a nerve agent in the English city of Salisbury in March, has been discharged from the hospital there, the hospital announced Friday.
Skripal, 66, was found slumped on a bench on March 4 along with his daughter, Yulia, after being exposed to novichok, a military-grade nerve agent.
Yulia, 33, was released from the hospital last month and taken to a safe location. Det. Sgt. Nick Bailey, who was also exposed to the nerve agent, was released in March.
Lorna Wilkinson, director of nursing at the hospital, confirmed Sergei Skripal’s release, adding that “this is an important stage in his recovery, which will now take place away from the hospital,” the UK Press Association reported.
“Treating him and the other two people poisoned by this nerve agent, while still providing outstanding care to the other patients who rely on our hospital, has been a huge and unprecedented challenge that I’m proud our staff at Salisbury Hospital have risen to,” she said.
Skirpal’s condition was described by hospital officials last month as “improving rapidly” no longer critical.
The poisoning of the Skripals sparked a fierce diplomatic row between the UK government and Russia, which has consistently denied allegations that it was behind the poisoning
In response, the UK expelled 23 Russian diplomats who had been declared as unidentified intelligence officers.
More than 20 other countries — including the US, Canada, Australia and 18 European Union states — have kicked out Russian diplomats in a show of support for the UK.
Last month, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons confirmed the UK’s findings that novichok was used in the attack.
While the incident has been played out in diplomatic circles across the world, including the United Nations, those at the center of the story were confined to a hospital in Salisbury.
Detectives with London’s Metropolitan Police believe the Skripals first came into contact with a nerve agent at Sergei Skripal’s home.
In late March, police identified the highest concentration of the nerve agent on the home’s front door.
Responding to Skripal’s release from the hospital on Friday, Russian President Vladimir raised questions over the nature of the poisoning.
“I heard from the media about Skripal today. I wish him good health, we are very happy, actually,” Putin said at a news conference alongside German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Sochi, Russia.
“But I have a few thoughts on this. First, I think that if a military-grade poisonous substance was used, as our British colleagues claim, this person would’ve died right there on the spot. A military-grade poisonous substance is so powerful that the person dies within seconds or minutes.”
Putin also added that UK authorities had not accepted a Russian offer to aid in the investigation of the Salisbury poisoning over two months earlier.
“We repeatedly offered UK authorities our help, and we asked to be given access to the investigation, but there is no response,” he said. “Our offer stands.”