The investigation into the death of former KGB spy, Alexander Litvinenko, is now focusing on radiation traces found on four British Airways aircraft. Three are being tested at Heathrow with the fourth expected to be flown back from the Russian capital. Detectives say three of the planes flew between Moscow and London in the days before Litvinenko was taken ill. Since then 36,000 passengers have flown on the planes to various locations, but BA believes the health risks are low. Andrei Lugovoi, one of the Russian’s who met Litvinenko in London also flew on one of the affected BA flights but the ex-KGB agent denies being involved in his death as does the Kremlin.
Litvinenko, an ex-KGB agent and a fierce critic of Russian president Vladimir Putin, died last week of radiation poisoning. Traces of radioactive polonium-210 were discovered in his body and more traces of the substance were found at venues he visited in the capital on 1 November. Britain’s Home Secretary, John Reid, will make a Commons statement later today concerning the investigation. Meanwhile, BA now faces a logistical nightmare tracking down the passengers who used the affected planes over the past month.