A former Russian intelligence officer, who was convicted of spying on behalf of Britain, became critically ill after coming into contact with an unknown substance, the BBC reported Monday.
Sergei Skripal, 66, and a female companion were found slumped over on a bench at a shopping mall in Salisbury, England, on Sunday afternoon. Witnesses say it appeared Skripal and the woman had taken “something quite strong.”
But police response suggested authorities were concerned something other than drugs had affected the pair. Law enforcement cordoned off several locations in the city center, while an emergency response crew in full protective gear used hoses to decontaminate the street. Officers were also dispatched to Skripal’s residence as a part of the investigation.
Skripal has been living in Britian since 2010, when he was part of a prisoner exchange with Russia. Moscow’s military court convicted Skripal of “high treason in the form of espionage” in August 2006 — back when he was a colonel in Russia’s military intelligence.