A former Russian spy, Sergei Skripal, who was granted refuge in England is reported to be in critical condition after exposure to an unknown substance. Skripal, 66, was granted refuge in the UK following a “spy swap” between the US and Russia in 2010, according to the Guardian newspaper. At a press conference, Wiltshire police said two people — a man in his 60s and a woman in her 30s — had been found unconscious on a bench at a shopping center in Salisbury. The pair were known to one another.They are currently being treated at the Salisbury District Hospital’s intensive care unit, where their condition remains critical.
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. Comparisons are being made to 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.
The Kremlin has repeatedly denied any involvement in the killing.