Ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal discharged from UK hospital

London, May 18 (IANS) Sergei Skripal, the former Russian spy poisoned with a nerve agent in Salisbury, was on Friday discharged from a hospital in the southern English city after two months of the attack.

Skripal, 66, was found slumped on a bench on March 4 along with his daughter Yulia after being exposed to military-grade nerve agent Novichok. The alleged assassination plot sparked a fierce diplomatic row between the UK government and Russia, which has consistently denied allegations that it was behind the poisoning.

Yulia Skripal, 33, was released from the hospital in April and was taken to a safe location. Nick Bailey, a police officer who attended the Skripals on the day of the poisoning and who was also treated for exposure to the nerve agent, has also been released from hospital care, the BBC reported.

Lorna Wilkinson, Director of nursing at Salisbury District Hospital, said that treating the Skripals had been “a huge and unprecedented challenge”.

“This is an important stage in his recovery, which will now take place away from the hospital.”

Skripal’s condition was described by hospital officials in April as “improving rapidly” and no longer critical.

After the poisoning, the UK expelled 23 Russian diplomats who had been declared as unidentified intelligence officers.

More than 20 other countries — including the US, Canada, Australia and 18 EU states — kicked out Russian diplomats in a show of support for Britain.

In 2006, Skripal, a former Russian colonel, was jailed in Russia for 13 years for passing on the identities of Russian spies in Europe to the UK intelligence services. But in 2010 he was part of a prisoner swap between Moscow and the US. He eventually settled in Salisbury.

Earlier, MI5 Director General Andrew Parker publicly blamed Russia for the “reckless” poisoning, accusing the Kremlin of “flagrant breaches of international rules”.

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