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

A former spy and his daughter are in critical condition at a UK hospital.

A man believed to be a former Russian agent convicted of spying for Britain is fighting for his life in a hospital in Salisbury, England, along with his daughter, after the two came into contact with an "unknown substance" on Sunday.

Local police were alerted on Sunday afternoon after Skripal, 66, and his daughter Yulia Skripal, 33, were spotted unconscious on a park bench. Sergei Skripal was displaying what witnesses described as "strange hand movements."

Wiltshire police have confirmed that a number of emergency services personnel received medical attention after responding to the incident, with one person receiving ongoing treatment.

The pair "did not have any visible injuries and were taken to Salisbury District Hospital," authorities said. "They are currently being treated for suspected exposure to an unknown substance. Both are currently in a critical condition in intensive care."

He added that the government would look at sanctions as possible punitive measures.

On Tuesday morning, Kremlin spokesman Dimitri Peskov told journalists that Moscow was willing to help in the investigation, but that Russia had no information on what could have been behind the incident.

"We see this tragic situation, but we don't have information on what could have led to this, what he was engaged in," he said.

An Italian restaurant, Zizzi's, in the center of Salisbury and The Bishop’s Mill pub in The Maltings shopping center remain closed Monday in connection to the incident.

Police officers were seen speaking to staff inside Zizzi’s on Monday night after it was closed "as a precaution," according to police on the scene who spoke with local journalists.

Skripal was sentenced in Russia to 13 years for treason in 2006 for allegedly spying for British intelligence services and passing secrets to MI6 since the late 1990s. He allegedly received more than $100,000 for sharing the identities of Russian agents in Europe.