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Poisoned Russian Ex-Spy's Health Continues to Decline


A close friend of Alexander Litvinenko says the medical condition of the poisoned Russian former spy continues to deteriorate, as he fights for life in a London hospital.

Litvinenko remained in intensive care under police guard Wednesday, as Scotland Yard probes the apparent assassination attempt.

His friend Alex Goldfarb described Litvinenko Wednesday as tired and not communicating well. Earlier this week, Litvinenko was described as thinning and yellowish, with his hair falling out. Friends insist he was targeted by Russian operatives, because of his outspoken criticism of President Vladimir Putin.

Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service Wednesday issued a sharply-worded denial of involvement.

Meanwhile, an Italian academic who lunched with Litvinenko on November 1 - the day he fell ill - said he called the meeting to discuss a hit list received from an unidentified source. Mario Scarmella said both his and Litvinenko's names were on the list.

Scarmella, who emerged from hiding in Rome Tuesday, said the list included the names of other exiled Russians in Britain. He also said that those who drew up the list were responsible for the unsolved October murder of noted Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.