Sergei Skripal: Poisoned former Russian spy could be relocated abroad
British security services are considering whether to move poisoned Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter abroad, The Independent understands.
Mr Skripal has been discharged from hospital and is being treated for nerve agent exposure at an undisclosed location, following daughter Yulia Skrpialâs release last month.
Sources say both victims are being kept in safe houses and have been interviewed by police, while security services consider whether to move them a different country for their safety.
The Independent also understands police have still not yet identified a suspect in the poisoning, almost 11 weeks after the pair were attacked in Salisbury.
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Counter-terror officers continue to investigate the case as attempted murder, after revealing the nerve agent was smeared on the handle of Mr Skripalâs front door.
The 66-year-old former double agent and his daughter were taken to intensive care after falling unconscious on a bench on 4 March and a Court of Protection hearing later that month saw doctors raise concern they could suffer permanent brain damage.
But Ms Skripal has made written statements after being released from hospital on 9 April and police said her father is also making âgood progressâ.
Scotland Yard has declined to give any details of where the victims are being treated or security operations.
âThis is a complex investigation and detectives continue to gather and piece together all the evidence to establish the full facts and circumstances behind this dreadful attack,â a spokesperson said.
âIn the intere sts of Sergei and Yuliaâs safety, we will not be discussing any protective or security arrangements that are in place.âDecontamination work continues in Salisbury (Getty)
In her latest statement, Ms Skripal said she was âsafe and feeling better as time goes byâ and had access to friends, family and help from specialist officers.
She refused assistance from the Russian Embassy and said she did not want to speak to her cousin, Viktoria Skripal, who was denied a British visa for a second time this week after giving numerous media interviews in Russia.
âHer opinions and assertions are not mine and they are not my father's,â Ms Skripal said.
With the culprits still at large, national security adviser Sir Mark Sedwill said security services w ere reviewing arrangements for other Russian defectors living in the UK earlier this month.
Mr Skripal, former military intelligence colonel, had been living openly under his real name after being handed over in a 2010 spy swap and the attempted assassination increased fears held by other defectors.
Little over a week after the attack in Salisbury, Russian businessman Nikolai Glushkov was found strangled at his London home.
No one has been arrested in relation to his death and police investigations continue.
Scotland Yard said there was no immediate evidence of a link to the attack on Mr Skripal, but Mr Glushkovâs links to Russian dissident Boris Berezovsky sparked fresh scrutiny over a string of suspicious deaths.
Ms Skripal was visiting her father from her home in Russia when the attack took place and they unwittingly spread the nerve agent around Salisbury as they visited a pub and restaurant on the day they fell ill.
Decontaminat ion work is ongoing in the Wiltshire city to rid sites of any traces of novichok, which was found to remain present in potentially toxic quantities at designated âhotspotsâ.
Skripal attack aftermath â" in pictures
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Skripal attack aftermath â" in pictures
Investigators in protective clothing remove a van from an address in Winterslow near Salisbury in Wiltshire, as police and members of the armed forces continue to investigate the suspected nerve agent attack on Russian double agent Sergei Skripa
A police officer on duty near the protective tent which covers the bench where a man and woman were apparently poisoned with what was later identified as a nerve agent, in Salisbury
Military in protective clothing prior to removing vehicles from a car park in Salisbury
Personnel in protective coveralls and breathing equipment cover an ambulance with a tarpaulin at the Salisbury District Hospital
Home Secretary Amber Rudd visits the scene of the nerve agent attack in Salibsury
Members of the emergency services in hazard suits fix the tent over the bench where Sergei and Yulia Skripal were found
Officials in protective suits check their equipment before repositioning a forensics tent
A poice officer stands guard outside a branch of the Italian chain restaurant Zizzi
Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey, who assisted the Russian ex-spy targeted with a nerve agent, was also hospitalised
Sergei Skripal days before he was exposed to a mystery substance that has left him fighting for life
Police officers outside Sergei Skripalâs home
Sergei Skripal speaks to his lawyer from behind bars seen on a screen of a monitor outside a courtroom in Moscow.
Yulia Skripal, who is thought to have been poisoned along with her father, Sergei Skripal
One of the first police officers to respond to the incident, DS Nick Bailey, also fell seriously ill but was the first to be discharged.
Officials said Mr Skripal was still at an âimportant stage of his recoveryâ and would be treated outside hospital.
Lorna Wilkinson, the director of nursing at Salisbury District Hospital, said: âTreating him and the other two p eople 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 Iâm proud our staff have risen to.â
A spokesperson for the NHS said they could not detail how the three victims were treated, but that nerve agent poisoning ârequires stabilising them, keeping them alive until their bodies could produce more enzymes to replace those that had been poisonedâ.
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âCara Charles-Barks, chief executive of Salisbury District Hospital, hailed Mr Skripal leaving as âfantastic newsâ.
âThat he, Yulia and DS Bailey have been able to leave us so soon after coming into contact with this nerve agent is thanks to t he hard work, skill and professionalism of our clinicians, who provide outstanding care to all our patients, day in and day out,â she added.
âThis has been a difficult time for those caught up in this incident â" the patients, our staff and the people of Salisbury. I want to thank the public for their support, and I want to pay a special tribute to both the clinical staff here at the trust and those who work so hard behind the scenes.â
A small amount of nerve agent in liquid form is believed to have been used in the attack, which sparked global diplomatic tensions.
The British government has accused Russia of culpability after identifying the nerve agent used as one of the Soviet-developed novichok group and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons confirmed its analysis.
The Kremlin has repeatedly denied any role in the attack on Mr Skripal, a former double agent who was jailed for treason in Russia before moving to the UK foll owing a 2010 spy swap.
Russia has expelled Western diplomats in retaliation against its own representatives being cast out, while expressing doubt over the authenticity of the chemical analysis and Ms Skripalâs statements.
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