Litvinenko, a former officer of Russian Federal Security Service, escaped prosecution in Russia and fled to England where he received a political asylum. What made this case sensational? First off all, it was the way he died. He fell ill on November 2006 and died three weeks later. Formerly, it was thought that he was poisoned with Thallium. However, an examination made shortly after his death shows traces of Polonium-210 in his body in a lethal dose. He was the first person to be poisoned by a nuclear radiation of Polonium. Secondly, his accusation in his deathbed that Putin wasresponsible for his poisoning made this case received a wide media attention and triggered tension between England and Russian government and caused many controversies as well.
Traces of Polonium were found in Litvinenko’s tea cup, suggesting that Litvinenko ingested the Polonium. Due to the danger of radiation spread, his coffin cannot be open for more than 6 years. His home had to
Polonium in the lethal amount could not be obtained commercially. It had to be produced in a nuclear reactor and 97% of world’s polonium was produced in Russia. Earlier in the day when he fell ill, Litvinenko met two former KGB officers Adrei Lugovoi and Dmitri Kovtum. Investigation by British officer revealed traces of Polonium in places where these 2 former KBG officers ever visited. Traces were also found in the jet plane, hotel and any other places visited by Lugovoi and Kovtum. The British government had requested the Russian government for the extradition of Lugovoi but this request was declined.
It was never clear who killed Litvinenko, several theories were circulated but none confirmed. Was the Russian secret service involved? Or was it an effort to embarrass Putin? This questions are very probable can never be answered.