LONDON, May 4. /TASS/. Former Russian military intelligence (GRU) Colonel Sergei Skripal, who was poisoned in the British city of Salisbury two months ago, at Salisbury District Hospital, a hospital source told TASS on Friday.
"I can confirm that Mr Skripal is a patient and if you look at the NHS England website you will get the current Salisbury update with the current condition check. The other patient has been discharged," the source said.
However, the most recent report about the Skripal incident issued by the NHS England dates to April 10. The report says that Sergei Skripal’s health is improving and he is no longer in critical condition. However, according to Dr Christine Blanshard, the hospital’s medical director, "he is recovering more slowly than Yulia." "We hope that he too will be able to leave hospital in due course," she added.
Earlier on Friday, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that Great Britain was still reluctant to cooperate with Russia in investigating the Salisbury incident and provide Moscow with consular access to Russian citizens.
According to London, Sergei Skripal, who had been convicted in Russia of spying for Great Britain and later swapped for Russian intelligence officers, and his daughter Yulia suffered the effects of an alleged nerve agent in the British city of Salisbury on March 4. Claiming that the substance used in the attack had been a Novichok-class nerve agent developed in the Soviet Union, London rushed to accuse Russia of being involved in the incident. Moscow rejected all of the United Kingdom’s accusations, saying that a program aimed at developing such a substance had existed neither in the Soviet Union nor in Russia.
However, the UK expelled 23 Russian diplomats and announced other restrictive measures against Moscow without presenting any evidence of its involvement in the incident. In retaliation to the UK’s steps, Russia expelled 23 British diplomats, closed the British consulate general in the city of St. Petersburg, while the British Council had to shut down its operations in Russia.
In the wake of the Skripal incident, a number of EU member countries, the United States, Canada and Australia announced the expulsion of Russian diplomats. Washington expelled 60 diplomatic workers and closed the Russian consulate in Seattle.
The Russian Foreign Ministry later announced retaliatory measures against counties that had expelled Russian diplomats. In particular, Moscow expelled 60 US diplomats and closed the US consulate general in the city of St. Petersburg. The United Kingdom was requested to reduce the number of its diplomatic staff in Russia so that it would match the number of Russian diplomats in Great Britain.