UK's Johnson confirms former Russian 'spy' poisoned in Salisbury, vows response

  06 March 2018    Read: 927

A man aged 66 and a woman aged 33, exposed to unknown substances in Salisbury, the United Kingdom, remain in critical condition.

UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson confirmed on Tuesday that ex-officer of Russia's Main Intelligence Directorate Sergei Skripal and his daughter were the victims of the Salisbury incident. He added that it's too early to speculate about the nature of the incident, though noted that London will respond if it appears that Moscow was behind the poisoning.

Earlier in the day, the Russian embassy in the United Kingdom asked UK authorities to inform Russia regarding the situation with the poisoning of two individuals in Salisbury.

"UK authorities and law enforcement bodies should intervene immediately and inform the Russian embassy and the UK society of the real state of affairs to finally put an end to demonizing Russia. Taking this into account, the embassy has asked the UK Foreign Office for clarifications," the spokesperson said in a statement obtained by Sputnik.

According to the official, UK media outlets are speculating on the issue.

"Even though UK law enforcement bodies offered no substantial statements on the circumstances of what happened, it is possible to draw a conclusion from media reports that this was a planned operation of the Russian security forces which does not correspond to reality," the spokesperson added.

On Monday, Wiltshire Police said that a man and a woman were found unconscious on a bench at a shopping center, adding that both were "in a critical condition in intensive care." The BBC media outlet reported citing own sources that the man was Sergei Skripal, a former officer of Russia's Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU), accused of espionage on behalf of London, who was granted an asylum in the United Kingdom after a US-Russia spy exchange.

"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 remain in a critical condition in intensive care. Our thoughts are with their families. As part of our enquiries, a number of scenes have been secured. These include the Zizzi restaurant on Castle Street and The Bishop's Mill pub in The Maltings. At this time, we cannot confirm how long these cordons will remain in place," the statement read.

According to the statement, there does not appear to be any immediate risk to public health.

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