LONDON — Poisoned ex-spy Sergei Skripal is "improving rapidly" and no longer critically ill, health officials announced Friday.
The former double agent and his daughter, Yulia, were found slumped on a public bench in the English city of Salisbury on March 4 after being sickened by Novichok, a military-grade toxin.
The U.K. says they were poisoned with the nerve agent by Russia and has laid the blame at the Kremlin's door.
"He is responding well to treatment, improving rapidly and is no longer in a critical condition," Dr. Christine Blanshard, medical director at Salisbury District Hospital, said in a statement issued Friday.
More two dozen Western allies, including the U.S., have ordered out Russian diplomats in a show of solidarity. Moscow has fiercely denied its involvement in the Skripal attack and has retaliated by expelling envoys.
President Donald Trump's administration took one of its most aggressive actions against Russia Friday, announcing sweeping sanctions on oligarchs, top officials and several businesses, including a bank and a state-owned weapons trading company.
Blanshard also repeated the news, which had been confirmed Thursday, that Yulia Skripal's condition had improved to "stable" and that "she can look forward to the day when she is well enough to leave the hospital."
"Yulia has asked for privacy while she continues to get better," Blanshard said.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Thursday described the British accusations against Moscow as a mockery of international law.
Speaking at a news conference, he insisted that the whole episode was fabricated by Britain to "demonize" Russia.