Alexander Litvinenko, said yesterday to look “like a ghost” in hospital, had been targeted and bugged for months by intelligence officers from the Russian Embassy in Kensington, his friends and associates said. His mobile phone calls and e-mails had been intercepted. The Kremlin was accused directly by his associates of being behind an apparent move to eliminate him.
He was poisoned because of his fierce and fearless mockery of President Putin, it was claimed. Oleg Gordievsky, the most senior KGB agent to defect to Britain, told The Times that the attempt to kill Mr Litvinenko was state-sponsored. He insisted that it was carried out by a Russian former colleague who had been recruited in prison by the FSB, the successor to the KGB.
Amid huge concern in diplomatic circles about the accusations of Kremlin involvement, the Foreign Office was awaiting anxiously the results of the police investigation on the apparent attack on a man who is now a British citizen. Scotland Yard said that it was investigating a “suspicious poisoning”.
Mr Litvinenko, 44, is under armed guard in hospital and has only a 50 per cent chance of survival, according to friends. Mr Litvinenko’s wife, Marina, also 44, said: “His bone marrow is destroyed. I may need a donor to save his life.” Doctors last night said that Mr Litvinenko’s bone marrow had failed and was not producing enough white blood cells to maintain his immune system.