Former Russian spy in critical condition
British media reported yesterday that a former Russian spy was in critical condition after coming into contact with an "unknown substance", a case that immediately drew parallels to the poisoning of former Russian agent Alexander Litvinenko.
Authorities did not identify the man, saying only that he and a woman had been found unconscious on a bench in a shopping mall in Salisbury, an English city about 90 miles (145 kilometres) west of London.
But the Press Association and other British media identified him as Sergei Skripal, 66, who was convicted in Russia on charges of spying for Britain and sentenced in 2006 to 13 years in prison. Skripal was freed in 2010 as part of a US-Russian spy swap.
Wiltshire Police, which is responsible for the Salisbury area, only identified the man and woman by their approximate ages and said they appeared to know one another and "did not have any visible injuries".
"They are currently being treated for suspected exposure to an unknown substance. Both are currently in a critical condition in intensive care," police said in a statement.
Eyewitness Freya Church told the BBC it looked like the two people had taken "something quite strong".