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28 Nov, 2006 06:11

UK police detect more polonium traces in London

UK police detect more polonium traces in London

The British Police investigating the death of former Russian Security Service officer Alexandr Litvinenko has indicated radiation had been found at two more sites in London.

The British Government is appealing for calm and urged the people not to rush to conclusions about who's behind the death of Mr Litvinenko after hundreds of people called a hotline for health advice. The British Home Secretary John Reid told that radiation emitted by polonium 210 doesn't spread more than a few centimeters. Health officials insist the substance in dangerous only if it is swallowed, inhaled or absorbed though a cut. Three people are undergoing radiological tests as a precautionary measure.

The discovery of yet more radiation in London has ensured the death of Alexandr Litvinenko remains front-page news around the world. Traces of polonium 210 have already been detected at addresses visited by Alexandr Litvinenko on November 1 – the day he fell ill. Mr Reid has confirmed that radiation has been found at other sites in London. One of these locations is believed to be in the exclusive Mayfair area of central London.

The address houses the offices of a Russian businessman Boris Berezovsky, a close friend of Mr Litvinenko. Berezovsky lives in exile in Britain, and is a fierce critic of the Kremlin and President Vladimir Putin.

British media has been quick to point the finger of blame at the Kremlin and President Putin's government in connection with Litvinenko’s death.

Russia's Defence Minister Sergey Ivanov has ruled out any involvement by the security services in Litvinenko’s death. The Russian media tell a different story, arguing that the main beneficiary of the negative publicity is Mr Berezovsky.

An inquest into Alexandr Litvinenko's death will be opened in London on Thursday.