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Yulia Skripal: 'Assassination attempt turned my life upside down'

Daughter of ex Russian spy Sergei Skripal says their recovery from nerve agent attack has been 'slow and painful'.

Yulia Skripal

Yulia Skripal, daughter of one of Russia's most famous spies, has spoken publicly for the first time since she and her father were poisoned in a nerve agent attack in the United Kingdom.

In a statement on Wednesday, Skripal said she and her father Sergei are "so lucky to have both survived this attempted assassination". Their recovery had been "slow and extremely painful".

Yulia, 33, and Sergei Skripal, a 66-year-old former colonel in Russian military intelligence, were found unconscious on a public bench in the British city of Salisbury on March 4.

They were exposed to the nerve agent Novichok, and Yulia was in a coma for 20 days.

She was discharged from a local hospital last month, as was her father last week. Both have been taken to an undisclosed location for their protection.

"I woke to the news that we had both been poisoned," Skripal said in her first media appearance since the attack. 

"The fact that a nerve agent was used to do this is shocking," Skripal told Reuters news agency. "My life has been turned upside down."

The UK blames Russia for the poisoning, a charge Moscow vehemently denies.

The incident sparked a diplomatic crisis between Russia and the West, including the expulsion of hundreds of diplomats from both sides.

Russia's ambassador to Britain has accused the UK government of effectively kidnapping the Skripals and breaking international law by not granting Russia consular access to them.

But Yulia Skripal said while she was grateful for the offers of assistance from the Russian embassy, she did not wish to use their services.

"Also, I want to reiterate what I said in my earlier statement that no one speaks for me or for my father but ourselves," she said.

Skripal arrived in Britain from Russia at London's Heathrow Airport on March 3 on one of her regular visits to see her father.

The pair were found unconscious a day later.

"As I try to come to terms with the devastating changes thrust upon me, both physically and emotionally, I take one day at a time and want to help care for my father until his full recovery," she said.

"In the longer term, I hope to return home to my country." 

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