'Ex-Russian spy' critically ill after suspected exposure to unknown substance

Salisbury hospital closed
DS LOCKDOWN Two ambulance vehicles marked'incident response unit have attended
Author

06 March, 2018

Former Russian military intelligence officer Sergei Skripal, who was convicted in 2006 of spying for Britain, is critically ill after exposure to unidentified substance in Britain, a source close to the investigation told Reuters.

A man in his 60s and a woman in her 30s were found unconscious on a bench at a shopping centre in Salisbury on Sunday afternoon.

Wiltshire Police and partners have declared a major incident after two people are thought to have been exposed to an unknown substance in Salisbury. She was sort of leant-in on him, it looked like she'd passed out maybe.

IN 2004, Sergei Skripal was arrested by Russian Federation for trading sensitive information with United Kingdom intelligence agency, MI6.

"They are now being treated for suspected exposure to an unknown substance".

Officers say they have yet to discover "whether or not a crime has taken place".

Since finding refuge in Britain, Skripal kept largely out of the spotlight until he was seen making unusual movements on a bench in Wiltshire on Sunday.

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Relations between Britain and Russian Federation have been strained since the murder of ex-KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko with radioactive polonium-210 in London in 2006, a killing which a British inquiry said was probably approved by President Vladimir Putin. "But it looked like they'd been taking something quite strong".

Police have now confirmed this incident is directly related to Monday's closure of Salisbury's A&E department, which was surrounded by a police cordon.

Why was Sergei Skripal arrested and how long was he in prison for?

Among the Russian agents deported from America as part of the deal was Manhattan socialite and diplomat's daughter Anna Chapman, who was married to a British man and lived in London for several years.

He added: "Scientists from PHE's Centre for Radiation, Chemical and Environmental Hazards, will continue to assist the response and review information as it becomes available".

The incident comes at a delicate time for UK-Russia relations, with a report from the Commons Foreign Affairs committee previous year describing the relationship between the two countries as being at "its most strained point since the end of the Cold War".

Litvinenko, 43, an outspoken critic of Putin who fled Russian Federation for Britain six years to the day before he was poisoned, died after drinking green tea laced with the rare and very potent radioactive isotope at London's Millennium Hotel. A British inquiry concluded Litvinenko was probably killed on the orders of Russian President Vladimir Putin.


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