Nerve agent treatment and recovery 'extremely painful,' poisoned Russian woman says

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Sergei, 66, and Yulia Skripal were found March 4 slumped on a bench in Salisbury, England, after being exposed to novichok, a military-grade nerve agent. (PHOTO COURTESY: AP)

(CNN) Former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, are continuing to recover from a nerve agent attack, and their rehabilitation has been "slow and extremely painful," the daughter said Wednesday.

Sergei, 66, and Yulia Skripal were found March 4 slumped on a bench in Salisbury, England, after being exposed to novichok, a military-grade nerve agent.

While Yulia Skripal, 33, spent 20 days in a coma before she was released from the hospital in April and taken to a safe location, her father remained hospitalized until last week.

"We are so lucky to have both survived this attempted assassination," she said Wednesday from an undisclosed location, her first public appearance since the attack. "I don't want to describe the details, but the clinical treatment was invasive, painful and depressing. Our recovery has been slow and extremely painful."

They both are progressing, she said, but her life has been turned upside down, and she's experienced physical and emotional changes, on which she did not elaborate.

"I take one day at a time and want to help care for my father until his full recovery. In the longer term, I hope to return home to my country," she said.

In requesting privacy and emphasizing that no one speaks for either her or her father, Yulia Skripal thanked the Salisbury District Hospital staff and others involved in their care.

She added, "I'm grateful for the offers of assistance from the Russian Embassy, but at the moment I do not wish to avail myself of their services."

Lorna Wilkinson, director of nursing at the hospital, said last week that Sergei Skripal would continue his recovery outside the hospital, the UK Press Association reported.

The poisoning of the Skripals sparked a diplomatic row between the UK and Russia, which has consistently denied allegations it was behind the poisoning

The UK expelled 23 Russian diplomats who had been declared as unidentified intelligence officers.

The United States, Canada, Australia and 18 European Union states kicked out Russian diplomats in a show of support for the UK.

Detectives with London's Metropolitan Police believe the Skripals first came into contact with a nerve agent at Sergei Skripal's home.

In late March, police identified the highest concentration of the nerve agent on the home's front door.

Upon Sergei Skripal's release, Russian President Vladimir Putin wished him good health, but questioned the British claim that a military-grade nerve agent was responsible for his illness.

"A military-grade poisonous substance is so powerful that the person dies within seconds or minutes," Putin said at a news conference alongside German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Sochi, Russia.

"We repeatedly offered UK authorities our help, and we asked to be given access to the investigation, but there is no response," he said. "Our offer stands."

This story was first published on CNN.com, "Nerve agent treatment and recovery 'extremely painful,' poisoned Russian woman says."