Yulia Skripal, one of the victims of the nerve agent attack in the English city of Salisbury in March, has said she doesn’t need help from Russian diplomats in the United Kingdom and wants her cousin to stop speaking for the family.
In a statement released Wednesday through London’s Metropolitan Police two days after she was discharged from hospital, Skripal said she is feeling better but is not strong enough to give a interview to the press.
She cautioned the media that no one else speaks for her or her father, who is still in a hospital.
She singled out her cousin, Viktoria Skripal, who has appeared on Russian television several times since the attack, once providing a recording of a phone conversation allegedly between herself and Yulia. Viktoria Skripal has also applied for a UK visa, a request that has been denied.
“I thank my cousin Viktoria for her concern for us, but ask that she does not visit me or try to contact me for the time being,” Yulia Skripal said. “Her opinions and assertions are not mine and they are not my father’s.”
‘A totally different life’
Skripal said that “specially trained officers” are helping to take care of her as she tries to come to terms with her situation.
“I find myself in a totally different life than the ordinary one I left just over a month ago, and I am seeking to come to terms with my prospects,” she said.
The Russian Embassy has “kindly offered me their assistance,” she said, but adding that she doesn’t want any help from them now and will contact them if she changes her mind.
Russian officials have spoken publicly about their requests for access to Yulia Skripal in the days and weeks after the attack – and about their offers of help since she regained consciousness. In a tweet on Tuesday, the Russian embassy in the UK asked for “urgent proof that what is being done to her is done on her own free will.”
Spiraling diplomatic dispute
Skripal, 33, regained consciousness in late March, several weeks after the poisoning that left her and her father, former Russian spy Sergei Skripal, 66, in critical condition. The pair were found slumped on a bench in Salisbury – where Sergei Skripal lived – on March 4 after being exposed to military-grade nerve agent novichok, according to British authorities.
The UK government blames Russia for the attack, but Moscow has denied any involvement. The incident has led to a spiraling diplomatic dispute between Russia and the UK.
Christine Blanshard, medical director of Salisbury District Hospital, said Tuesday that the condition of Sergei Skripal was also improving, albeit at a slower pace than Yulia. Her location is currently unknown and the Metropolitan Police have refused to comment on whether she is receiving police protection.
Father still ‘seriously ill’
In her statement Wednesday, Yulia Skripal said that she had been treated “with obvious clinical expertise and … kindness” but that she is “still suffering with the effects of the nerve agent” and that her father remains “seriously ill.”
“I am safe and feeling better as time goes by, but I am not yet strong enough to give a full interview to the media, as I one day hope to do,” she said.
She also confirmed that she has access to family and friends.
CNN’s Steve Almasy and Simon Cullen contributed to this report.