Alexander Litvinenko was a former lieutenant-colonel in the Russian Federal Secret Service (FSB). In 2000 after a falling out with Putin over FSB corruption, Litvinenko fled to the U.K. and became a vocal critic of the Kremlin.
On November 1, 2006 Mr. Litvinenko had tea with other former agents, Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitri Kovtun, at a London hotel and fell ill soon after. He was hospitalized after severe vomiting. It was confirmed Litvinenko was a victim of polonium-210 poisoning. In an interview with the BBC while he was hospitalized he said he had been looking into the assassination of Russian journalist Anna Politkovska.
Litvinenko accused Putin of being behind his poisoning. Andrei Lugovoi and Dimitri Kovtun are the main suspects, both of whom are in Russia and have immunity there.
Kovtun has now asserted at a press conference that Litvinenko probably killed himself accidentally.
“My main theory is that it was an accident,” said Mr Kovtun. “I am more than sure that he had something to do with polonium, without knowing that himself. Maybe it was a leak, and polonium accumulated in his body gradually.”
However, the 49-old businessman admitted he had no proof to confirm that assertion, and it was possible that “somebody” gave Mr Litvinenko the toxic isotope.
Kovtun doesn’t conjecture how polonium-210 coincidentally was found in the teapot used at the hotel get-together and subsequently traced back to him.
So check your pockets carefully. Never know when you might be carrying around some polonium isotopes…and never have a tea party with Russian thugs.