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British Authorities May Test Litvinenko Contacts


Aleksandr Litvinenko at University Hospital, London, three days before his death (epa) November 26, 2006 -- British authorities say they may seek to carry out health tests on customers at a restaurant and hotel that were visited by former Russian spy Aleksandr Litvinenko.


Officials have asked anyone who visited the London sushi bar or hotel where Litvinenko held meetings on November 1, the day he is believed to have been poisoned, to call authorities so they can possibly tested for the radioactive substance that has been linked to Litvinenko's death.


Investigators say they are trying to determine the source of the rare isotope polonium-210 that was detected in Litvinenko's body.


Traces of the substance have been found in the restaurant and hotel, and officials say it is possible other people may have been contaminated. Officials have stressed, however, that the likelihood that others were exposed remains low unless they had close contact with Litvinenko.


Investigators say they have begun looking for witnesses and reviewing surveillance tapes in a bid to determine how Litvinenko may have ingested the polonium-210.


(compiled from agency reports)

The Kremlin's Fallen Foes

Mourners in Moscow mark the 40th day after the killing of investigative journalist Anna Politkovsksya on November 15 (TASS)

DANGEROUS DISSENT. A surprising number of vocal critics of the policies of Russian President Vladimir Putin have been killed or have died mysteriously in recent years. Although the Russian government has denied any involvement in any of the cases, some Kremlin watchers have begun speaking of a clandestine campaign to eliminate dissent.

April 17, 2003: Sergei Yushenkov, veteran liberal politician, Duma member, and leader of a staunchly anti-Kremlin party, is shot dead in Moscow.

July 3, 2003: Yury Shchekochikhin , liberal lawmaker and investigative journalist, dies of a mysterious allergic reaction. Many believe it was a case of deliberate poisoning, but the incident was never investigated as a murder.

February 13, 2004: Former acting Chechen President Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev is killed in an explosion in Doha, Qatar. Two Russian security-service agents are later convicted of carrying out the killing.

September 2, 2004: Investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya falls ill mysteriously on a plane bound for the North Caucasus. Politkovskaya was heading to Beslan, North Ossetia, in a bid to negotiate the release of schoolchildren being held hostage there by Chechen militants.

December 2004: Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yushchenko , running for president as a pro-Western candidate against Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, is poisoned. He recovers and goes on to win the presidency, although his poisoning remains a mystery.

October 7, 2006: Investigative journalist and vocal critic of Russian policies in the North Caucasus Anna Politkovskaya is gunned down in Moscow.

November 23, 2006: Former Federal Security Service agent Aleksandr Litvinenko, a vocal critic of Russia's secret services, dies of a mysterious poisoning in London.


CHRONOLOGY

An annotated timeline of high-profile killings in Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union.



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