An inquiry into the 2006 murder of Alexander Litvinenko finds that Russian president Vladimir Putin “probably” ordered the former KGB spy’s agonizing death. In a turn of events that sounds like a 007 henchman move, a 300+ page report digs into the highly suspicious poisoning method by which Litvinenko passed (after fingering Putin as the culprit). The fatal instrument, polonium-210, isn’t something you can pick up at a nearby pharmacy, and it slowly killed Litvinenko over a period of three weeks.
Polonium-210 is a radioactive substance that can only be found at Russian nuclear facilities. Discovered by Marie Curie, the tiniest speck of this lethal substance will eliminate one’s enemies, but Litvinenko’s death stands as the only documented case of planned polonium poisoning. Death by polonium must be deliberate (by ingestion), and the Litvinenko inquiry finds that the former KGB spy drank green tea containing the material. Two Putin associates allegedly served the tea.
The full Litvinenko report contains several stunning allegations relating to possible motive. Among them, Putin is accused of having a “declared animosity” against Litvinenko, which reached its peak in 2006 when Litvinenko alleged Putin of pedophilia. The report also says Litvinenko possessed videotapes of Putin “making sex with some underage boys.” The damning evidence of the poisoning scheme runs throughout the report, and journalist Gordon Rayner tweeted photos and diagrams of the English hotel boardroom where polonium-210 was detected.
This case bubbled for a decade before the inquiry published on Thursday, but The Telegraph‘s response to the report was immediate. The paper did not hold back with their assessment of Putin and his “increasingly dictatorial” reign: