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British, Russian Detectives Interview Key Witness in Litvinenko Poisoning


Russian news agencies say British and Russian detectives have interviewed another key figure in the radiation poisoning death of former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko.

The reports quote businessman and Litvinenko associate Andrei Lugovoi, who is undergoing treatment for radiation poisoning, as saying he was questioned Monday for three hours. Another figure, Dmitri Kovtun, was questioned last week in the same hospital.

Kovtun is the focus of a related probe in Germany, where investigators say they have found traces of polonium-210, the isotope that killed Litvinenko, at locations Kovtun visited in Hamburg.

German police say Kovtun's ex-wife and family have shown traces of contamination with the radioactive substance. Tests of a car used by Kovtun on October 28 also showed traces. Kovtun and Lugovoi met Litvinenko three days later in London, the day Litvinenko said he fell ill.

Litvinenko died at a London hospital on November 23. In a deathbed statement, he linked his poisoning to his outspoken criticisms of Russian President Valdimir Putin. Both Mr. Putin and the Kremlin have denied any link to Litvinenko's death.

Meanwhile, Russia's Interfax news agency says Russian detectives could fly to London by the end of the week to conduct their own probe of Litvinenko's murder. The report says the trip will come after British detectives finish their work in Moscow.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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