A former Russian spy and his daughter were poisoned with a nerve agent over the weekend, British police said Wednesday.
Sergei Skripal, a 66-year-old former colonel in Russian military intelligence, and his 33-year-old daughter fell ill on Sunday in Salisbury, England, where they live.
British police say that Skripal and his daughter “were targeted specifically,” though it is still early to say who was behind the assassination attempt.
“This is being treated as a major incident involving attempted murder by administration of a nerve agent,” Mark Rowley, a British counterterrorism official, said Wednesday, according to The New York Times.
Skripal is currently in critical condition, as are two emergency workers who responded to help him.
The Kremlin was immediately suspected of being behind the attack, though British authorities said that it is still too early to attribute blame.
Skripal has lived in England since 2010 after the Moscow released him from prison in a prisoner swap for 10 Russian spies who had been arrested by the FBI. He was sentenced to 13 years in prison in 2006 after being convicted of selling secrets to British intelligence.
It is widely believed that other members of Skripal’s family have been targeted by the Russian government in the past. Both his brother and son died within the past two years under mysterious circumstances.
Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for the Kremlin, denied any involvement in the assassination attempt.
The case has drawn comparisons to the assassination of Alexander Litvinenko, a Russian defector who died in 2006 after being poisoned with polonium in London.
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