Ex-Russian spy in critical condition after exposure to 'unknown substance': Reports

PHOTO: Sergei Skripal speaks to his lawyer from behind bars seen on a screen of a monitor outside a courtroom in Moscow in this Aug. 9, 2006 file photo.PlayFile-Misha Japaridze/AP Images
WATCH Ex-Russian spy in critical condition after exposure to 'unknown substance': Reports

A former British spy is in critical condition after being exposed to an “unknown substance,” British media say.

Wiltshire Police temporary Assistant Chief Constable Craig Holden confirmed in a statement that a man and woman were found unconscious on a park bench in Salisbury, England, Sunday. Holden did not identify the couple.

“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,” Holden said.

British media have identified the man involved as 66-year-old Russian national Sergei Skripal.

PHOTO: A Aug. 16, 2005 file photo shows the main entrance of Salisbury District Hospital, in Salisbury, England. British media say a former Russian spy is in critical condition after coming into contact with an unknown substance. Tim Ockenden/PA via AP Images, File
A Aug. 16, 2005 file photo shows the main entrance of Salisbury District Hospital, in Salisbury, England. British media say a former Russian spy is in critical condition after coming into contact with an "unknown substance."

Skripal was convicted in 2006 on charges of spying for Britain and sentenced to 13 years in a labor camp by Moscow's military court, but was later released in a 2010 U.S.-Russia spy swap, according to the BBC.

Skripal later took up residence in the U.K.

An eyewitness told the BBC that it looked like the pair had taken “something quite strong” and that the man was “doing some strange hand movements, looking up to the sky.”

The man and woman are both in critical condition, Holden said. He said they do not believe there is any threat to the public.

The British Home Office told ABC News that the incident was a police matter and that it would not comment.

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