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Was Russian Ex-Spy Poisoned By Cup Of Tea?

British police have concluded that a former Russian spy was poisoned by a lethal dose of radioactive Polonium-210 added to his tea at a London hotel, British and American television stations reported Friday.

Investigators have identified the teapot believed to have contained the radioactive tea, which eventually killed Alexander Litvinenko in November, Sky News said, citing unnamed Scotland Yard officials. ABC News had a similar report, citing an unidentified official.

Police officials and a spokesman at the hotel declined to comment on the reports.

The reports also said police have identified another former Russian spy, Andrei Lugovoi, as a suspect in the murder. Sky News said British prosecutors believe they have enough evidence to charge him.

The reports cap a week of media speculation on the direction of the British investigation into the death. The Guardian newspaper also reported Friday that police were focussing on Lugovoi and preparing to submit evidence to prosecutors to decide whether to file charges against him, citing unnamed government officials.

Lugovoi, who has strenuously denied playing any role in the murder, was not immediately available for comment.

ABC News said the teapot, found at the Millennium Hotel in central London, remained in use for several weeks after the poisoning, adding that its radiation readings were extremely high.

Of the 13 people who tested positive for contamination with Polonium-210 since Litvinenko was poisoned, eight worked at the hotel.

Two others who tested positive for the rare radioactive material also visited the hotel's bar, where Litvinenko drank tea with Lugovoi and other Russians on Nov. 1. Britain's health agency has identified the bar as the possible scene of the poisoning, and the area has remained off limits to the public since it was closed on Dec. 8.

Litvinenko, 43, died on Nov. 23.

The former agent fled to Britain after leaving Russia and was granted asylum. In exile, he became a vocal opponent of Russian President Vladimir Putin, accusing him in a deathbed statement of masterminding his death.

Russian officials have denied any involvement in his murder.

An intelligence source tells CBS News that it's doubtful the British will ever have enough evidence to accuse the Kremlin of ordering or approving the assassination, despite investigators' suspicions that higher-ups in Moscow were involved. According to the source, the level of proof for such an accusation is just too high, given the risks of damaging Britain's huge political and commercial ties with Russia.

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