Fmr. Russian spy Litvinenko dies from ... radiation poisoning?

Former Russian spy and Russian President Vladimir Putin critic Alexander Litvinenko died yesterday. He was hospitalized earlier this month for what was thought thallium poisoning, however doctors now say Litvinenko’s cause of death may have been radiation poisoning:

A large quantity of radiation, probably from a substance called Polonium 210, has been found in the body of dead ex-Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko.

The “major dose” of alpha radiation was detected in his urine, said Government experts, who added that Polonium 210 is only dangerous if ingested.

They also revealed that police have found radiation in a central London sushi bar where Mr Litvinenko ate shortly before falling ill – and in a hotel where he had met two Russians that morning.

(hat tip: The Political Pitbull)

Litvinenko blames Putin for his death. He is an excerpt from the statement he made on his deathbed:

But as I lie here, I can distinctly hear the beating of wings of the angel of death. I may be able to give him the slip but I have to say my legs do not run as fast as I would like. I think, therefore, that this may be the time to say one or two things to the person responsible for my present condition.

You [Putin] may succeed in silencing me but that silence comes at a price. You have shown yourself to be as barbaric and ruthless as your most hostile critics have claimed.

You have shown yourself to have no respect for life, liberty or any civilized value.

You have shown yourself to be unworthy of your office, to be unworthy of the trust of civilized men and women.

Putin called Litvinenko’s statement “political provocation“.

Update (Allahpundit): What’s the significance of Polonium-210 having been found in his system? Captain Ed explains:

One does not find polonium just laying around somewhere; it’s rather rare, and difficult to produce in any quantity. However, small quantities are all that are needed for poisoning someone, as the maximum safe ingested dose is 0.03 microcurie. It’s 25 billion times more poisonous than hydrocyanic acid. Anyone who attempted to deploy this as an assassin’s weapon has to have a lot of expertise in handling polonium — which again strongly indicates a government assassin at work. It practically convicts Putin by its use.

British cops have found traces of it at his home, in a sushi bar he visited on November 1, and at a hotel bar he patronized earlier that same day — where he met a former KGB agent and two associates.

On the morning of Nov. 1, the former agent met with another former KGB spy Andrei Lugovoy — who had come to watch the Russian soccer team CSKA Moscow — and two other men he had never met before.

Drinking a cup of tea the men had ordered, Litvinenko discussed a joint business venture and said he was homesick for Russia. Friends say it was his patriotism coupled with a sense of false protection from his British asylum that prompted him to reach out to potential Russian dissenters who might have bolstered allegations that Putin’s government was involved in corruption in the spy service.

Lugovoy has admitted to meeting Litvinenko on the day in question.

Come experience the United Kingdom — where if the jihadis don’t get you, the Russians will!