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Russian Ex-Spy’s Daughter ‘Improving Rapidly'


Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia

British health officials say the daughter of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal is no longer in critical condition and is "improving rapidly," weeks after a March 4 nerve-agent attack in an English city.

"I'm pleased to be able to report an improvement in the condition of Yulia Skripal. She has responded well to treatment but continues to receive expert clinical care 24 hours a day," Christine Blanshard, medical director for Salisbury District Hospital, said on March 29.

The Skripals were found slumped on a bench in the southern city of Salisbury on March 4.

Her father, Sergei, remains in a critical but stable condition in the hospital, officials said.

The upgraded health report comes as Russia said retaliatory measures will be “unveiled shortly” in response to the expulsion of Russian diplomats by Britain, the United States, NATO, and many other Western countries and allies.

“Our measures will be appropriate. They are currently under consideration and I think will be unveiled shortly," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told a Moscow briefing on March 29.

"You will know about the form and content of the measures when everything is ready. I repeat, it will happen soon," she added, without adding details.

More than 150 Russian diplomats have been expelled by Britain, the United States, NATO, many European Union countries, and several others that are not in the EU, including Ukraine, in response to the poisoning of Skripal and his daughter.

Britain has blamed Russia for the poisoning, triggering the diplomatic dispute between Moscow and Western countries.

Georgia, which fought a five-day war with Russia in August 2008, became the latest nation on March 29 to declare it will expel a Russian diplomat in response to the poisoning.

The Georgian Foreign Ministry said it "condemns the use of chemical weapons on the territory of the United Kingdom that caused grave human suffering...and posed serious threat to the life and health of others."

Moscow has denied it was behind the attack and has called on Britain to prove it did not itself poison Skripal, 66, and his 33-year-old daughter.

Skripal, a former Russian military intelligence officer imprisoned by Moscow after being convicted of passing on information about Russian agents in various European countries, came to Britain in a 2010 spy swap.

Despite the expulsions and exchange of tense remarks, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on March 28 that President Vladimir Putin remained ready to hold a meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump.

"The Russian side remains open, of course," Peskov said, adding that "all depends on our American colleagues."

Trump on March 21 told reporters that he hoped the two leaders could meet in the "not-too-distant future" to discuss several crises around the world.

With reporting by Interfax, AFP, Reuters, and AP
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