Police in the UK say they are now treating the death of the poisoned former KGB operative Alexander Litvinenko as murder. Litvinenko, an outspoken critic of the Kremlin, died of radiation poisoning in hospital after a three week illness. The Russian authorities have denied responsibility, and warned that continued speculation will harm relations between Moscow and London. Small traces of radiation have also been found at the British embassy in the Russian capital by a team of UK detectives, but they would not say if it was Polonium 210, the isotope linked to Litvinenko’s death.
They have also questioned one of at least two Russians who met the former agent the day he fell ill. Dmitry Kovtun spoke with officers in the same hospital where ex-KGB agent Andrei Lugovoy is being treated for radiation poisoning. Lugavoy admitted meeting Litvinenko in this London hotel on the day he fell ill, but denies any involvement in his death. He is due to talk to investigators later today. Meanwhile, an Italian contact of Litvinenko’s has been discharged from hospital in London after low levels of radioactive Polonium 210 were detected in his body. Mario Scaramella claims to have a dossier of evidence that could shed light on the case.