BREAKING NEWS : Coroner: Two teens shot to death inside Cumberland Ave garage Full Story

Russian spy ill from 'unknown substance'

Former Russian double agent Sergei Skirpal, who spied for Britain, and a woman in her 30s were found unconscious on a bench at a shopping center in Salisbury, UK. Poilice say the two are in critical condition and being treated "for suspected exposure to an unknown substance." Skirpal was granted refuge in the UK following a "spy swap" between the US and Russia in 2010, according to a source familiar with the investigation. CNN's Nick Paton Walsh reports.

Posted: Mar 7, 2018 10:47 AM
Updated: Mar 7, 2018 10:47 AM

A woman found unconscious on a shopping center bench in southern England next to a Russian former double agent is his daughter, a source told CNN on Tuesday.

Sergei Skripal, 66, a former Russian military official convicted of spying for the UK, and his daughter, Yulia, 33, who was visiting from Russia, are critically ill in a UK hospital after "suspected exposure to an unknown substance."

British counterterrorism police are investigating how the pair ended up slumped on a bench Sunday in Salisbury, England.

The incident has not been declared terrorism. But due to the unusual circumstances, the specialized counterterrorism unit will lead the investigation, London's Metropolitan Police said Tuesday.

Skripal was convicted in Russia of spying for Britain before being granted refuge in the UK after a high-profile spy swap between the United States and Russia in 2010.

Salisbury, perhaps best known as the stopping-off point for tourists visiting nearby Stonehenge, has become the unlikely center of an extensive police probe into the mysterious circumstances around how Skripal and his daughter fell ill.

The pair were found on a bench in an unremarkable outdoor shopping complex, surrounded by a handful of chain eateries, including the Italian restaurant Zizzi, which was closed as part of the inquiry.

They did not have any visible injuries, according to police.

Images taken outside the restaurant Monday night showed investigators in anti-contamination suits searching the premises. Authorities have declined to name the substance to which the pair were exposed.

A small number of emergency services personnel were treated immediately afterward, local police said Tuesday. One of them remains in the hospital.

Salisbury resident Freya Church described seeing the pair on the bench appearing "out of it."

"She sort of leant in on him, it looked like she'd passed out maybe. He was doing some strange hand movements, looking up to the sky," Church told Reuters on Monday.

"I felt like I should step in but to be honest they looked so out of it that I thought that even if I did step in I wasn't sure how I would help. So yeah, I just left them, but it looked like they'd been taking something quite strong."

By Tuesday morning, the bench had been covered in a white forensic tent, a light drizzle of rain falling on reporters gathered at the scene.

The case has drawn comparisons to the poisoning of former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko, who died a slow death after drinking tea laced with highly radioactive polonium-210 in a Mayfair hotel of London in 2006.

A detailed UK inquiry later concluded that Russian President Vladimir Putin probably approved the operation by Russian agents to kill Litvinenko. The Russian Foreign Ministry dismissed the UK investigation as politically motivated.

In a conference call with reporters Tuesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov declined to comment on the Skripal case, saying "we do not have any information" about the situation, and adding that he did not know whether Skripal still had Russian citizenship.

UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said Tuesday the Skripal case had "echoes" of what happened to Litvinenko.

While he stopped short of "pointing fingers" of responsibility, Johnson said during a Parliament session that the UK would act robustly if "evidence emerges of state responsibility." He then suggested the UK's participation in this summer's World Cup in Russia could potentially be affected.

"I think it will be very difficult to imagine that UK representation at that event could go ahead in the normal way, and we will certainly have to consider that," Johnson said.

A UK Foreign Office representative later clarified those comments, stating that Johnson was referring to the UK's diplomatic representation at the event, rather than its soccer team.

The Russian Embassy in London hit back at Johnson's remarks, saying it "looks like the script of yet another anti-Russian campaign has already been written."

In a statement, the embassy said it was "impressed" by Johnson's comments in Parliament, saying he spoke "in such a manner as if the investigation was already over and Russia was found responsible for what had happened in Salisbury."

"We regret that instead of a proper official clarification on the issue the foreign secretary chose to threaten Russia with retribution," it read.

Who is Sergei Skripal?

Skripal arrived in the UK as part of an elaborately choreographed spy swap conducted by the United States and Russia in which the two countries exchanged agents on chartered planes on the runway at an airport in Vienna, Austria.

Among the 10 so-called Russian sleeper agents deported by the United States as part of the deal was Anna Chapman, who had previously lived in London.

Skripal was one of four Russians who traveled in the opposite direction after then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev pardoned him.

According to previous reports by Russia's state news agency RIA Novosti, Skripal was sentenced to 13 years in prison in 2006 for spying for the UK.

It quoted Russia's Federal Security Service, or FSB, as saying Skripal, a former Russian military intelligence colonel, was convicted for "treason in the form of espionage" and that he had been recruited by Britain's MI6 intelligence service.

The report said he had spied for Britain as an intelligence officer during the 1990s and he had continued to communicate with MI6 after his retirement in 1999.

Russian court officials said Skripal had received at least $100,000 for his collaboration with MI6, RIA Novosti reported.

According to the FSB, Skripal's "actions caused serious damage to the national defense and security." The intelligence service added that MI6 paid Skripal for the information in foreign currency, which was transferred monthly to his account in a Spanish bank.

Russian newspaper reports at the time of his conviction said Skripal had shared information about dozens of his former colleagues operating undercover in Europe, in particular their secret meeting venues, addresses and passwords.

The FSB said that Skripal had admitted his guilt and gave truthful testimony about his activities, which the court had taken into consideration in sentencing him.

Skripal is believed to have lived in the UK since his release from Russian custody in 2010.

Skripal's daughter is thought to be one of the few members of his immediate family still alive after his wife, Lyudmila, and son Alexander died in recent years. Gravestones bearing their names have been seen at a cemetery in Salisbury.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1118335

Reported Deaths: 17712
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1455892240
Lake724831254
Allen67063882
Hamilton51060487
St. Joseph49820649
Elkhart40268546
Vanderburgh34714497
Tippecanoe30808276
Johnson27696467
Hendricks26313385
Porter25657386
Madison21131455
Clark20238279
Vigo19059309
LaPorte17192261
Howard16770314
Delaware16761303
Monroe16628220
Kosciusko14293167
Hancock13113186
Bartholomew12983190
Warrick12210190
Wayne12090269
Floyd12011226
Grant11998245
Morgan10409192
Boone9869124
Noble9316122
Henry9177169
Marshall9152147
Dearborn8970100
Dubois8835140
Shelby8281130
Cass8167128
Lawrence8057185
DeKalb7817109
Jackson770793
Huntington7661115
Gibson7102118
Montgomery7101123
Harrison6954100
Knox6915116
Steuben669089
Whitley659660
Miami6595113
Putnam645085
Clinton627179
Wabash6221111
Jasper613192
Jefferson5856105
Ripley557294
Adams542281
Daviess5076117
Scott491580
Wells4836105
White478469
Greene4701101
Clay464662
Decatur4611110
Fayette452496
Jennings452067
LaGrange427491
Posey410044
Randolph3944107
Washington390956
Fountain375964
Fulton364874
Spencer362247
Starke355574
Owen353577
Sullivan348555
Orange331372
Jay331050
Rush309533
Carroll296239
Franklin292744
Perry290553
Vermillion283658
Tipton251167
Parke250130
Pike248644
Blackford222144
Pulaski210359
Newton182452
Brown177550
Crawford169129
Benton168417
Martin152120
Switzerland147612
Warren135816
Union122616
Ohio92413
Unassigned0595

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1731003

Reported Deaths: 26851
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1803711843
Cuyahoga1698662655
Hamilton1144371544
Montgomery810251405
Summit726231210
Lucas636141027
Butler57225814
Stark543091183
Lorain42754645
Warren36183417
Mahoning36035788
Lake32696501
Clermont31523369
Trumbull27614620
Delaware27394185
Licking26829344
Medina26290353
Fairfield24812287
Greene24540373
Clark22327390
Portage21504283
Richland21257342
Wood20300248
Allen19119326
Miami17456352
Columbiana17014335
Muskingum16873207
Wayne15873307
Tuscarawas14579362
Marion13440196
Ashtabula12927237
Erie12790199
Scioto12556188
Pickaway12308155
Ross11780226
Hancock11623175
Geauga11042179
Lawrence10698172
Belmont10509234
Huron9867159
Jefferson9687228
Union963775
Sandusky9428166
Seneca8993161
Knox8869176
Washington8714159
Darke8435181
Athens841897
Ashland8102152
Auglaize8018120
Shelby7551135
Defiance7418117
Crawford7356150
Fulton7262113
Brown7217116
Logan7061111
Guernsey700586
Mercer6959100
Highland6807120
Clinton6547106
Williams653899
Madison652590
Preble6334140
Putnam6288122
Champaign585187
Jackson584597
Perry570579
Ottawa5689102
Coshocton5688108
Morrow521765
Fayette497272
Hardin4947100
Gallia474278
Van Wert469395
Pike467678
Adams4619110
Henry439280
Hocking412493
Holmes4035141
Wyandot379275
Carroll371178
Paulding326351
Meigs307561
Monroe236861
Noble221549
Morgan219039
Harrison215253
Vinton189138
Unassigned06
Fort Wayne
Clear
22° wxIcon
Hi: 38° Lo: 20°
Feels Like: 10°
Angola
Cloudy
23° wxIcon
Hi: 38° Lo: 23°
Feels Like: 11°
Huntington
Clear
19° wxIcon
Hi: 36° Lo: 19°
Feels Like: 9°
Decatur
Clear
22° wxIcon
Hi: 39° Lo: 22°
Feels Like: 10°
Van Wert
Partly Cloudy
24° wxIcon
Hi: 40° Lo: 22°
Feels Like: 11°
Colder air continues to filter into the region, and we will experience the coldest day since February 2021.
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events