The poisoned daughter of a former Russian spy attacked with a nerve agent in Britain says she is recovering quickly.
"I woke up over a week ago now and am glad to say my strength is growing daily," Yulia Skripal said in a statement released Thursday by British police.
Her father, Sergei Skripal, 66, remains in critical condition in a British hospital following the March 4 poisoning Britain has blamed on Russia. The attack on the Skripals set off wide diplomatic recriminations, between the West and Moscow, that were reminiscent of the Cold War standoffs of the 1950s.
Britain, the United States and other NATO countries have expelled more than 150 Russian diplomats in a show of solidarity over the attack. Russia has adamantly denied involvement and expelled an equal number of Western envoys.
On Thursday, three buses believed to be carrying expelled American diplomats left the U.S. embassy in Moscow after their luggage was loaded onto trucks.
In her statement, 33-year-old Yulia Skripal said she was "grateful for the interest in me and for the many messages of goodwill that I have received."
She thanked the people of Salisbury, where the attack occurred, for coming to the aid of her and her father, and the health care workers who have treated both of them.
"I am sure you appreciate that the entire episode is somewhat disorientating," she said, "and I hope that you'll respect my privacy and that of my family during the period of my convalescence."
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In Russia, state television released a recording Thursday that it said was of a phone call between Yulia Skripal and a cousin in Russia, in which Skripal said she and her father were recovering and that he had not been irreparably harmed in the attack. The broadcaster said it could not verify the recording's authenticity.
As Russian officials continued to reject British claims that Moscow was behind the attack, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov contended that Britain was trying to "demonize" Russia.
"The so-called Skripal case has been used as a fictitious, orchestrated pretext for the unfounded massive expulsions of Russian diplomats not only from the U.S. and Britain but also from a number of other countries who simply had their arms twisted," Lavrov said in Moscow. "We have never seen such an open mockery of the international law, diplomatic ethics and elementary decorum."
Russia called a meeting of the U.N. Security Council on Thursday afternoon to discuss the British accusations. It was the second time the council had convened on the Skripal case.
Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia criticized the British investigation, saying that despite many unanswered questions, London had reached the conclusion of Moscow's guilt.
"It is some sort of theater of the absurd," Nebenzia said. "We have told our British colleagues that you are playing with fire and you will be sorry," referring to what he said was the "fake story" London had presented to the world.
"There is one country among us — Russia — which is playing fast and loose with our collective security and the international institutions that protect us," British Ambassador Karen Pierce told council members. "It is that reason that leads people to accuse Russia and to take steps against her."
The British envoy said her government launched a "comprehensive and complex" investigation immediately after the poison attack, which involves more than 250 police detectives who are being supported by specialist experts. They are reviewing more than 5,000 hours of closed-circuit television footage, examining over 1,300 seized exhibits and interviewing more than 500 witnesses.
Margaret Besheer at the United Nations contributed to this report.