Written by Frank Sellers; Originally appeared at The Duran
Upon learning of Sergei Skripal’s discharge from the hospital, Putin was happy to hear of his recovery. Although, he reiterated that he was doubtful that their malady was caused by poisoning of a military grade nerve agent. About a month ago, Yulia Skripal had recovered and was released from hospital care, meaning that both of the victims are presently doing well.
Russian President Vladimir Putin says he was happy to hear that former double agent Sergei Skripal had been discharged from hospital, stressing that if a weapons-grade poison had been used, Skripal would have died on the spot.
Speaking at a joint press conference with visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Putin said he had heard Skripal had been released from hospital.
“God give him health, we are very happy,” the Russian president said. He added, however, that he doubts a weapons-grade toxin was used to poison Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, UK, in early March.
“I think that if, as our British colleagues claim, a weapons-grade poison had been used, that person would be dead on the spot. Combat chemicals are so strong that the person either dies immediately or within seconds, maybe minutes,” Putin said.
He also reiterated Russia’s willingness to help the investigation. “We have offered our British partners all the necessary help numerous times, and asked for access to the investigation. There has been no answer so far. Our offer remains on the table,” the Russian leader concluded.
Sergei Skripal, a former Russian-UK double agent who had served a prison term for treason in Russia before moving to the UK, was poisoned in Salisbury on March 4, together with his daughter Yulia. In the immediate aftermath, British Prime Minister Theresa May claimed Russia was “highly likely” responsible because of the alleged origins of the nerve agent supposedly used in the poisoning. The case escalated into a diplomatic scandal, with the UK and its allies expelling dozens of Russian diplomats, and Moscow sending home a similar number in a mirror response.
The British NHS announced on Friday that Sergei Skripal had been discharged from hospital. No details of his condition or location have been revealed. Weeks earlier, Skripal’s daughter Yulia was released in similar secrecy. Neither has been seen since, and their only communication with the outside world has been a statement released by the Metropolitan Police, supposedly on Yulia’s behalf, which among other things refused the help which had been offered by the Russian embassy in London.
‘They can refuse our help, but we must be sure they’re OK’
The Skripals are free to turn down the embassy’s aid, but they should do so in person, Russian Ambassador to the UK Alexander Yakovenko told a press conference on Friday.
“For today, nobody saw their pictures, nobody heard their voice, nobody saw whether they’re alive or not… we should be sure that the person is alive, he is alright or she is alright, and [if they] say, for example, ‘I don’t need your services,’ it’s fine with us,” he said.
Asked by a reporter, Yakovenko said Russia does not consider Skripal a traitor as his sentence had been served.
“He was sentenced, he spent six years in prison, he is cleared, he was freed and he decided to go to Britain. He is a free man, he is a Russian citizen as well as a British citizen, and he can do whatever he wishes. I think he settled his problems with the Russian state.”
The ambassador himself only heard of Skripal after the Salisbury incident, he told another reporter.
“I had never heard of him and we never met him – no relations, no nothing. So when it happened in Salisbury, we started to read about who the person is, what he did in Russia, what he did here… basically, for us he was a new person, and now we know almost everything from the British press, except the evidence,” Yakovenko said.
Sergei Skripal and his daughter are recovering and “improving rapidly” after their exposure to the deadly chemical nerve agent Novichok, in what appears to be “a miracle”.
The statement that the UK police released about the poisoning alleges that the nerve agent was applied to the front door of Sergei Skripal’s front door, which is supposedly how the Skripals were poisoned. From their home, the Skripals drove their car down to the Sainsbury car park, from where they walked to grab a few pints at The Mill Pub just before they went for a bite at Zizzi’s restaurant, before walking to the park bench where they were found unresponsive, and where emergency services were called to. According to the time frame that is provided, this entire train of events went down over a course of roughly three hours.
Essentially, this military grade nerve agent, which is ten times stronger than VX, took an exceptionally long time to do its work, if this story is legitimate, as a very small amount of the toxic substance, even a 1mm drop is lethal.
Now, both the Skripals and the sergeant, Nick Bailey, have been treated and are improving quite well, apparently with no irreparable damage, after being poisoned with something that there is “no cure” for. Additionally, the Skripals were properly diagnosed with exactly what was making them ill by regular medical professionals who have now treated this condition with such skill that their patients are going to be just fine.
This sample of the “military grade” chemical weapon taken from the scene was tested by experts at Porton Down, who identified the substance as Novichok, but apparently couldn’t tell where it was from, after British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson testified that the scientists were “absolutely categorical” that it came from the Russians.