A Russian spy rushed to the hospital after a collapse had recently gone to the police and told them he feared for his life, according to reports.
Sergei Skripal fell ill in Salisbury on Monday after police said that he and a 33-year-old woman he was with were exposed to an “unknown substance.”
The 66-year-old, a former colonel in Russia’s FSB intelligence agency, was arrested in 2004 for allegedly giving information to Britain, and had been living in the UK since a “spy swap” in 2010.
Police said that Skripal and the younger woman were found collapsed on a park bench, and were both in critical condition at a local intensive care unit.
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Officials said they did not know if a crime had been committed, though reports including in The Telegraph said that he had recently told the cops that he was worried someone may want to kill him.
The newspaper added that there were suspicions he had been poisoned.
Alexander Litvinenko, a former Russian spy who began working with Britain’s MI6, was killed in 2016 with radioactive polonium placed into his tea.
An inquiry published in 2016 said that the killing, believed to have taken place at a London hotel was “probably” approved by FSB head Nikolai Patrushev and Vladimir Putin, himself a former KGB agent.
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Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Tuesday morning that he had no information about the “tragic situation” and that British police had not yet reached out for any help.
Police in the county of Wiltshire said that Zizzi, an Italian restaurant near where Skripal was found, had been closed Monday night in connection with the investigation.
Skripal had settled in the region, a quiet area west of London, after he was released early from a sentence for giving Britain information about Russian spies in Europe.
Those given back to Russia in exchange for Skripal and others were the group of 10 Russian spies, including the “flame-haired” Anna Chapman, arrested in 2010.
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