Looks like the secrets of what lay behind the first nerve agent attack in Europe since the Second World War may be revealed with Sergei and Yulia Skripal expected to speak to investigators in the coming days after making a remarkable recovery.
The ex-MI6 spy and his daughter may soon be in a position to reveal to investigators the chain and time of events that led to her poisoning and that of her father in Salisbury a month ago – and who may have carried out it out.
Despite the head of Porton Down, the military research centre, saying there is no known antidote to the military grade novichok, which Theresa May’s government has said was used in the attempted murders, both now appear to be out of danger.
The timing of their interviews will be dependent on the advice of the specialist medical staff treating them, but the police and security agencies are optimistic that the answers to what took place are likely to emerge soon.
Salisbury District Hospital, where the pair have been treated since being struck down last month, said Mr Skripal was “responding well to treatment, improving rapidly and no longer in a critical condition”.
Yulia Skripal, who had issued a public statement through the police saying she “woke up a week ago and am glad my strength is growing daily”, will be questioned before her father unless his condition improves dramatically.
Ms Skripal supposedly spoke on the telephone with her cousin Viktoria in Moscow who was due to visit her in hospital. During the call Yulia told Viktoria she may not be given a visa, and yesterday the UK authorities confirmed that the visa application has been refused.
This led to an immediate charge of further cover-up by Russian officials who have already accused the UK of carrying out the attack.
A Home Office spokesman said: “We have refused a visitor visa application from Viktoria Skripal on the grounds that her application did not comply with the immigration rules.”
Russian state television earlier this week broadcasted a telephone conversation between Viktoria and her cousin, where Yulia allegedly said “everything is fine” and her father was “sleeping”.
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said the improvement in the condition of Mr Skripal was “great news” and “testament to the quick work” of the emergency services.