Couple in critical condition were poisoned by nerve agent, police confirm

2 people exposed to unknown substance near Salisbury

2 people exposed to unknown substance near Salisbury

Amesbury, located close to the megalithic site Stonehenge, is about seven miles from Salisbury, where Skripal and his daughter were found poisoned by a military-grade nerve agent in March.

The British government blamed Russian Federation for the Skripal poisoning, saying a military-grade nerve agent known as Novichok, developed in the Soviet Union, was used in the attack. Police say the two had been poisoned at their home and that their front door proved to have a high concentration Novichok, which was first developed in the Soviet Union in the 1970s.

Investigators are studying the possibility the Amesbury pair may have come into contact with residue from the Skripal attack, and counter-terrorism officers were working with Wiltshire police "given the recent events in Salisbury", Scotland Yard said.

The couple left fighting for their lives were earlier named as Charlie Rowley and Dawn Sturgess.

A "major incident" has been declared in the southern English town of Amesbury after two people may have been exposed to what authorities describe as an "unknown substance".

Friends said the couple were foaming at the mouth and had trouble breathing before they were hospitalised.

Security cordons have been set up around the areas where the two people went before they fell ill, police said, and security has been boosted in both Amesbury and Salisbury.

Basu said it was "a line of inquiry" over whether the latest poisoning was linked to that of Skripal and his daughter Yulia.

Peskov said the Kremlin was anxious by the latest news from Britain and hoped the two Britons in a critical condition would recover.

Neil Basu of Metropolitan Police said there had been a "significant development" to the situation.

The initial assessment by doctors suggested they had fallen ill from contaminated drugs but on Monday, "due to concerns over the symptoms the man and woman were displaying", samples from the patients were sent to a different laboratory for further study, Basu said in a statement. However, further testing is now ongoing to establish the substance which led to these patients becoming ill.

At this point in the investigation, Sturgess and Rowley appear to have been two regular British citizens with no apparent connection to Russian Federation, the report said.

"They remain in a critical condition", Mills said, adding that at least five different areas had been cordoned off, including a park and a property in Salisbury, and a pharmacy and a Baptist church community centre in Amesbury. The object that contaminated them has not yet been identified, Basu said.

Sergei and Yulia Skripal have since been discharged from the hospital.

The Kremlin said on Thursday that Russian Federation had always been ready to help Britain get to the bottom of what really happened to the Skripals but complained it had been ignored.

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