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Russian Spy critical in hospital after being exposed to unknown substance in Salisbury

A man who is currently critically ill in hospital after being exposed to an unknown substance in Salisbury was a former Russian spy.

It is believed he is Sergei Skripal aged 66 who was convicted in Russia of passing state secrets to Britain.

Skripal was later granted refuge in the UK as part of a spy swap.

A woman who could be linked to him is also critically ill in hospital after being exposed to an unknown substance.

They were both rushed to Salisbury District Hospital following the incident at The Maltings Shopping Centre.

A large area of Salisbury was closed off and the hospital had declared a major incident advising those only requiring urgent medical attention to attend.

The fire service attended both the shopping centre and the hospital setting up decontamination zones.

Police have released three tweets relating to the incident 

Police confirmed that yesterday they recieved a call from a member of the pubic who was concered about the welfare of two people. They had both been found unconscious on a bench in the maltings shopping centre.

Officers attended the scene with the ambulance and fire services and quickly put cordons in place, both the man and woman suffered no visible injuries.

Police are now appealing for anyone with information in relation to the incident to call 999 immediately.

 

Who is Sergei Skripal?

He was a colonel within the Russian military intelligence service and was sentenced to 13 years in prison back in 2006

But in 2010 with three other convicts, he was officially pardoned as part of a spying swop with the Russian government.

Very little details surrounding the incident have been released.

Official Police Statement has now been released.

Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Craig Holden has just given the following statement at a live press conference in relation to the major incident declared today in Salisbury: “Yesterday afternoon, at approximately 4.15pm, we received a call from a member of the public who was concerned for the welfare of two people.

“The two people – a man aged in his 60s, and a woman aged in her 30s – were found unconscious on a bench in The Maltings in Salisbury.

“Officers, as well as colleagues from the ambulance and fire services attended the scene and cordons were put in place.

“The pair, who we believe are known to each other, did not have any visible injuries and were taken to Salisbury District Hospital. They are currently being treated for suspected exposure to an unknown substance. Both are currently in a critical condition in intensive care.

“Because we are still at the very early stages of the investigation, we are unable to ascertain whether or not a crime has taken place.

“A major incident has been declared today and a multi-agency response has been co-ordinated.

“Alongside our partner agencies, we are conducting some extensive enquiries to determine exactly what led to these two people falling unconscious and clarify whether or not any criminal activity has happened.

“This has not been declared as a counterterrorism (CT) incident and we would urge people not to speculate. However, I must emphasise that we retain an open mind and we will continue to review this position. We have access to a wide range of specialist resources and services that are helping us to understand what we are or aren’t dealing with at this time.”

“The focus at this moment in time is trying to establish what has caused these people to become critically ill, and we are working with partners to prioritise this diagnosis and ensure that they receive the most appropriate and timely treatment.

“We would continue to appeal to any members of the public who may have information in relation to this incident to contact us immediately via 999. We would like to reassure members of the public that incidents of this nature are taken extremely seriously and we currently do not believe there is any risk to the wider public.

“We would like to take this opportunity to thank members of the public who have assisted us so far and respected the cordons which remain in place.

“We will continue to update the public as this incident progresses”

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