London, Sep 19: A Russian model critical of Vladimir Putin's regime on Wednesday claimed that the Russian president had tried to kill her, in the latest poisoning scare at an Italian restaurant in the town of Salisbury, south-west England, where a former Russian spy and his daughter were poisoned.
The town where former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found collapsed after being poisoned by the deadly 'Novichok' nerve agent earlier this year in March had been cordoned off by Wiltshire Police on Sunday after reports of two people being taken ill. While police have since ruled out any Novichok link to Sunday's incident, 30-year-old model Anna Shapiro told 'The Sun' newspaper that she and her husband were the two people targeted with suspected rat poison. Skripal Poisoning Suspects Say They Are Russian Civilians Who Were Touring Salisbury.
"I was targeted by Putin's henchmen. They want me dead as I oppose Putin and have turned my back on my country. Russia is capable of anything," she told the newspaper. "I'm sure the Russians think I'm a British spy. I know lots of rich businessmen in central London and because I have the accent people make assumptions about me," she said. Shapiro, who says her father was a "general in the Russian Army who played for the military orchestra", said her husband Alex King, 42, collapsed in the toilet of the Prezzo restaurant and was "foaming at the mouth".
She also then ran to the toilets to vomit and collapsed before the pair – along with a waiter – were rushed to Salisbury District Hospital. King was put in an induced coma and is still fighting for his life in hospital, according to reports.
The restaurant, on the High Street in Salisbury, is a short walk from Queen Elizabeth Gardens, which was closed off for investigation after 44-year-old Dawn Sturgess was fatally poisoned in June by Novichok, the same deadly nerve agent used against the Skripals.
The former spy and his daughter ate at a Zizzi Italian restaurant about 0.2 miles from the Prezzo eatery, which has since been permanently closed.
"Tests have confirmed that the two patients who fell ill in Prezzo restaurant in Salisbury on Sunday evening were not exposed to any kind of nerve agent," Wiltshire Police said in a statement. UK Releases Photos of Russians Who Carried out Nerve Agent Poisoning, Charges Them.
British Prime Minister Theresa May has accused the Russian government of orchestrating the poisoning of the Skripals, most recently releasing CCTV footage of two Russian male suspects seen in the town days before the incident in March. The same perfume bottle containing the deadly nerve agent was believed to have led to the death of Sturgess months later. The Russian government has repeatedly denied the UK government's allegations that the poisoning of the Skripals in Salisbury or Sturgess and Charlie Rowley in nearby Amesbury had anything to do with the Kremlin.