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Britain: Putin Critic Died Of Radiation Poisoning

From the DNC’s Associated Press:

Radioactive substance in ex-spy’s body

Nov. 24, 2006, 9:17AM

LONDON — Former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko was poisoned by radiation, Britain’s Health Protection Agency said Friday. Agency scientist Roger Cox said polonium-210 had been found in Litvinenko’s urine. Earlier, Home Secretary John Reid said Litvinenko’s death Thursday night was "linked to the presence of a radioactive substance in his body." Reid, the country’s top law-and-order official, said experts were searching for "residual radioactive material" at a number of locations.

The former KGB agent dictated a statement in the waning hours of his life, blaming Russian President Vladimir Putin and describing him "as barbaric and ruthless as your most hostile critics have claimed." Putin said Friday there was no proof it was a "violent death."

Litvinenko, a former spy turned Kremlin critic, signed the statement in the presence of his wife before losing consciousness, said Alex Goldfarb, a friend who read it aloud outside the hospital Friday.

In his first public comment on Litvinenko’s death, Putin said his passing was a tragedy and extended his condolences to his family.

But the Russian leader said British medical documents did not show "that it was a result of violence, this is not a violent death, so there is no ground for speculations of this kind."

"A death of a man is always a tragedy and I deplore this," Putin told reporters at a European summit in Helsinki, Finland.

Putin’s government has strongly denied involvement in Litvinenko’s death, calling the allegation "nothing but nonsense."

"It’s so silly and unbelievable that it’s not worth comment," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in Helsinki.

"Now the case will be investigated by relevant British services and we hope that those who are standing behind this case will be brought to justice," he added.

Litvinenko died of heart failure after days in intensive care, London’s University College Hospital said.

People who criticize Vladimir Putin seem to have the worst luck.

But it’s surely just a coincidence.

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, November 24th, 2006. Comments are currently closed.

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