Sergei Skripal's dead cat and guinea pigs were 'important witnesses'

Sergei Skripal's dead cat and guinea pigs were 'important witnesses'

Sergei and Yulia Skripal are being treated in an English hospital after being found unconscious on March 4 after an attack with nerve agent, but both are no longer in critical condition.

If the Skripals came into contact with the deadly nerve agent at their doorstep, how did they have the ability to first go to a pub and a restaurant before they succumbed?

Saturday's Foreign Office statement said: "It's over three weeks since we asked Russian Federation to engage constructively and answer a number of questions relating to the attempted assassinations of Mr Skripal and his daughter".

State TV announced on Wednesday evening that the conversation had taken place, saying it had been passed a recording of it by Yulia's cousin, Viktoria Skripal, and could not vouch for its authenticity.

Hospital medical director Dr Christine Blanshard has dismissed talk of when they could be discharged as "speculation", but with Ms Skripal now well enough to have issued her first statement since the attack, and her father said to be "improving rapidly", they could soon be well enough to assist the investigation into how they were poisoned.

"I woke up a week ago and I am happy to say that my strength is growing every day".

The hospital did not say whether either Sergei or Yulia would suffer long-term effects.

Skripal was a double agent who sold secrets to Britain.

He said: "They can speak to investigators about their last movements, were there any threats, were there any other circumstances?"

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The Russian embassy tweeted on Thursday that Skripal had two cats and two guinea pigs.

"This is a tribute to the hardworking and talented NHS staff in Salisbury who have provided outstanding care".

The UK Foreign Office said Thursday that Yulia Skripal has so far declined the Russian Embassy's offer of consular assistance following the attack.

"Let us be clear, this was attempted murder using an illegal chemical weapon that we know Russian Federation possesses".

Later, London claimed that the toxin of Novichok-class had been allegedly developed in Russian Federation.

The Salisbury spy attack sparked a major deterioration in relations between the United Kingdom and Russian Federation with both expelling diplomats and engaging in a war of words.

She said: "I am sure you appreciate that the entire episode is somewhat disorientating, and I hope that you'll respect my privacy and that of my family during the period of my convalescence".

The ambassador held a 90-minute press conference this week in which he denied Russian Federation had ever produced novichok and suggested Britain may be behind the poisoning.

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