British police say that a Russian spy and his daughter were poisoned by a nerve agent that sent to the pair to the hospital in a premeditated attack that is being treated as attempted murder.
They continue to look into who may have played a role in their sudden collapse.
Sergei Skripal, a 66-year-old former official for the FSB who was convicted of passing secrets to the UK, and his 33-year-old daugher Yulisa remain in intensive care at a hospital in Salisbury, west of London.
The police officer who treated the pair when they collapsed is also in serious condition, according to Metropolitan Police counterterrorism chief Mark Rowley.
Critically ill ex-Russian spy’s family died in different ways
Local police initially said that exposure to an “unknown substance” led Skripal and his daughter to collapse on a bench at a shopping center on Sunday. The incident led to the closure of a nearby Italian restaurant called Zizzi.
Government scientists were able to rule out radioactive agents as they tested the substance, the Times of London reported Wednesday.
The BBC reported that two officers on the case were hospitalized with wheezing and itchy eyes.
In 2006 former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko, who had been working with Britain’s MI6 intelligence agency, died after his tea was poisoned with the radioactive substance polonium-210.
UK politicians could skip World Cup in Russia over spy case
An inquiry found that the killing was “probably” ordered by the highest ranks of the FSB and the Kremlin, including President Vladimir Putin.
Skripal had previously been punished by Russian authorities for working with Britain, and was sentenced to a lengthy prison term in 2006 before he was traded in a 2010 spy swap for Russian agents caught in the U.S.
British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson said that he was not “pointing a finger” at anyone, but warned that participation in the upcoming World Cup could be affected if Russia was connected to an attack on his country’s soil.
Senior ministers were expected to be part of an emergency “Cobra” meeting on Wednesday.
Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that his government had “no information” about Skripal’s collapse, but that it was willing to cooperate if and when UK authorities asked for help.
The Russian Embassy in London criticized media reports for “vilification” of the Kremlin in the immediate aftermath of the attack and denied the “impression of a planned operation by the Russian special services.”
With News wire services
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CHRISTOPHER BRENNAN, MEGAN CERULLO