Former Russian spy Sergei Skripal, who was convicted by Russia of betraying agents to British intelligence, was critically ill on Monday after exposure to an unidentified substance in Britain, two sources close to the investigation told Reuters.
British police said two people, a 66-year-old man and a 33-year-old woman, had been found unconscious on a bench in a shopping center on Sunday in the southern English city of Salisbury after exposure to the unknown substance.
Both are critically ill in intensive care. Police declared a major incident.
Skripal, once a colonel in Russia’s GRU military intelligence service, was convicted in Russia of treason in 2006 but exchanged as part of a Cold War-style spy swap in 2010 on the tarmac of Vienna airport. Skripal is 66 years old.
British police did not release the names of those who were being treated but two sources close to the investigation told Reuters that the critically ill man was Skripal. It was unclear what the substance was, they said.
“This has not been declared as a counter-terrorism incident and we would urge people not to speculate,” Wiltshire police’s Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Craig Holden told reporters.