Yulia Skripal is not yet out of the woods after being poisoned by the Russian nerve agent Novichok, but at least she’s out of the hospital. More than a month after being found unconscious on a public bench along with her father Sergei, a former Russian intelligence agent turned British mole, Skripal can now convalesce on an out-patient basis. The medical team suggested that Sergei may follow soon:
The daughter of a former Russian spy poisoned by a nerve agent is at a secure location after being released from the hospital. Doctors say it is a “significant milestone,” but not the end of treatment. She & her father Sergei Skripal were both targeted https://t.co/eMedX6vPlq pic.twitter.com/BhWLtYCmF6
— CBS News (@CBSNews) April 10, 2018
Yulia Skripal, one of two Russians poisoned by nerve agent, has been released from the hospital, Salisbury District Hospital medical director Dr. Christine Blanshard said Tuesday.
The 33-year-old Skripal was discharged and taken to a “secure” location on Monday, according to BBC News.
In a press conference Tuesday, Blanshard said she hoped Sergei Skripal would be able to be discharged in due course.
The Russians have protested their lack of consular access to Yulia Skripal, who remains a Russian citizen … for now, anyway. British authorities want to keep her a live Russian citizen, which is why they’re providing for a secure location. According to her family, Yulia might find a new home after applying for asylum from the Putin regime, which the Russians say is akin to an “abduction”:
The Russian Embassy in London continued its attacks on British officials Tuesday, and said that the “secret resettlement” of the Skripals “will be seen as an abduction or at least as their forced isolation.”
It reacted with particular pique to reports that the father and daughter could be settled in the one of the “Five Eyes” intelligence-sharing countries, which include Britain, the U.S., Australia, Canada and New Zealand, and said that such a move would breach international law.
Her cousin told a Russian talk show that Yulia Skripal would apply for political asylum in the U.K., according to RIA Novosti.
How forced does anyone really believe Skripal’s isolation is? Bear in mind that Sergei was living openly in Salisbury, enough for he and his daughter to dine in public restaurants and walk in the retail district. The operation to kill him was so brazen, the New York Times reported last week, that investigators believe it had to have authorization from the highest levels of the Russian government:
British officials investigating the poisoning of Sergei V. Skripal, a former Russian double agent, believe it is likely that an assassin smeared a nerve agent on the door handle at his home. This operation is seen as so risky and sensitive that it is unlikely to have been undertaken without approval from the Kremlin, according to officials who have been briefed on the early findings of the inquiry.
This theory suggests that an assassin, who Britain believes was working on behalf of the Russian government, walked up to the door of Mr. Skripal’s brick home on a quiet street in Salisbury on March 4, the day that he and his daughter, Yulia, were sickened. …
British and American officials say they are struck by the symbolism of the attack on Mr. Skripal, as well as its effectiveness. There were many ways the former spy could have been killed: He could have been shot, or killed in a staged accident.
But the assassins knew the nerve agent would be identified, and knew it would be linked to Russia, the officials said. That was meant to send a chilling message to others who would think of defecting to, or informing, the West.
And by conducting the operation in an historical British town, some distance from London, the attack was meant to indicate that no place was out of reach of Russian assassins, the officials said.
Indeed. And so who can blame Yulia for getting the message loud and clear that her government wants her father dead, and isn’t too particular about keeping her alive either?
Update: As Blaise MacLean pointed out on Twitter, the UK is under no obligation at all to provide Russian consular officials access to Yulia Skripal. They are obligated to provide consular access to Skripal if she requests it. The Brits say that they have offered to provide such access to Skripal, but that she has declined to meet with the Russians, and it’s not difficult to understand why.