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Two British Citizens Critically Ill After Exposure To Same Soviet-Era Nerve Agent That Struck Down A Former Spy And His Daughter

REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

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Ryan Pickrell China/Asia Pacific Reporter
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A couple of British citizens are in critical condition after exposure to a dangerous chemical weapon developed by the former Soviet Union, the same substance that recently put a former spy and his daughter in the hospital.

“I have received test results from Porton Down (a military research center) which show that the two people have been exposed to the nerve agent Novichok,” Neil Basu, a senior counter-terrorism officer, revealed Wednesday afternoon, according to Reuters. Basu explained that it is unclear how the pair came into contact with the substance or if they were specifically targeted.

It is also unclear whether the Novichok is from the same batch used in the earlier incident. An investigation is underway.

Britain’s counter-terrorism police responded to a situation in Amesbury Saturday, just about eight miles from the location in Salisbury where Sergei Skripal, a former Russian spy turned double-agent, and his daughter Yulia were exposed to Novichok. (RELATED: UK Couple In Critical Condition Near Ex-Russian Spy Poisoning Attack)

The couple in Amesbury, a local 44-year-old woman and a 45-year-old man, were found unconscious and taken to the hospital. The pair was taken to Salisbury District Hospital for treatment.

Around 100 counter-terrorism officers have been looking into the current situation, and authorities have cordoned off several areas, including a pharmacy, a church community center, a park and a property in Salisbury, among others.

London, as well as Britain’s international allies and partners, pinned the Skripal poisoning on Moscow. The Kremlin has repeatedly denied that Russia was involved. In response to the poisoning in March, countries around the world, following in the footsteps of the U.K. and the U.S., expelled hundreds of Russian diplomats while shuttering diplomatic missions.

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