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poisoned spy 3B

Former spy blames Putin on deathbed

LONDON — A rare radioactive substance killed an ex-KGB spy turned Kremlin critic, the British government said Friday. In a dramatic statement written before he died, the man called Russian President Vladimir Putin "barbaric and ruthless" and blamed him personally for the poisoning.

Putin, in Finland, offered his condolences for the death of Alexander Litvinenko and denied any involvement. He called the release of the deathbed statement a "political provocation" by his opponents.

Litvinenko died late Thursday at a London hospital after spending days in intensive care as doctors puzzled over what was causing his organs to fail and attacking his bone marrow and destroying his immune system.

Britain’s Health Protection Agency said Friday that the radioactive element polonium-210 had been found in his urine, and the police said traces of radiation were found at Litvinenko’s home and a ritzy hotel bar and sushi restaurant he visited on the day he became ill.

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Police said they were treating the case as an "unexplained death" — but not yet as a murder.

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