Sergei Skripal, 66, an ex-Russian military intelligence colonel, was found unconscious Sunday on a bench in Salisbury with his daughter Yulia Skripal, 33.
Police said the pair had been exposed to an “unknown substance” while shopping in Salisbury, a city about 90 miles west of London. They are both in critical condition in a hospital.
Sergei Skripal is a former Russian double agent convicted of passing identities of Russian agents working undercover in Europe to MI6, the foreign intelligence service of the U.K.
Skripal was jailed in Russia in 2006 after he confessed to being recruited by British intelligence and supplying information about Russian agents. He was freed in 2010 as part of a U.S.-Russian spy swap and moved to Britain.
Sergei Skripal has endured some major deaths in his family in recent years.
Skripal’s son, 43, died recently on a visit to St. Petersburg with his girlfriend, the BBC reported. His wife, Liudmila, also died in 2012 at age 59 of “disseminated endometrial carcinoma.”
Skripal was one of four Russians exchanged for 10 “sleeper” agents planted by Moscow in the United States in 2010, according to the. For more than five years he has been living in a modern red-brick home close to the city center.
He “seemed like a nice chap. When he moved in he invited us all over for a housewarming party – I imagine he invited the whole street,” neighbor James Puttock told the Guardian.