Ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal discharged from UK hospital after being poisoned with nerve agent

Sergei Skripal, the former Russian spy who was poisoned with a nerve agent in the U.K. more than two months ago, was released from the hospital Friday, health officials said.

Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia were found unconscious on a public bench in the city of Salisbury on March 4, and spent weeks in critical condition. Officials suspect the father and daughter were poisoned with novichok, a Soviet-engineered nerve agent.

Yulia, 33, recovered more quickly than her father and was discharged last month.

Salisbury District Hospital said Friday that all three people hospitalized in the attack -- the Skripals and a police officer who came to their assistance -- have now been released. The Skripals have been taken to an undisclosed location for their safety.


"We have been able to discharge Sergei Skripal," said Lorna Wilkinson, director of nursing at the hospital. "This is an important stage in his recovery, which will now take place away from the hospital."

Sergei Skripal served with Russia’s military intelligence agency, often known by its Russian-language acronym GRU, and retired in 1999. He then worked at the Foreign Ministry until 2003, and later became involved in business.

Skripal was arrested in 2004 in Moscow and later confessed to having been recruited by British intelligence in 1995. He also said at the time that he provided information about GRU agents in Europe, receiving over $100,000 in return.  

In 2006, Skripal was convicted on charges of spying for Britain and sentenced to 13 years. However, he later was pardoned and released from custody in July 2010 as part of a U.S.-Russian spy swap, which followed the exposure of a ring of Russian sleeper agents in the U.S.

He had been living quietly in the cathedral city of Salisbury, 90 miles southwest of London, when he was struck down.


Britain blamed Russia for the attack while Moscow denied all allegations. In response, more than two dozen Western allies, including the U.S., ordered out over 150 Russian diplomats in a show of solidarity. In response, Russia ordered out 60 U.S. diplomats and closed the consulate in St. Petersburg in a tit-for-tat response.

Last month, the U.S. Treasury Department announced it was punishing seven Russian oligarchs and 17 Russian government officials with sanctions for what the U.S. called Russia's "malign activity" around the world.

British police say they believe the toxin was smeared on the door handle of Skripal's suburban house. Hundreds of counterterrorism officers and support staff have been assigned to the case but police have not yet named any suspects.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.