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American women poisoned in Moscow · 2007-03-07 12:49

ThalliumTwo American women are being treated in a Moscow hospital for thallium poisoning, BBC reported.

Their condition is described as “fairly serious”. They were staying at a Moscow hotel and fell ill on 24 February, but the circumstances are not yet clear.

Russia’s Ekho Moskvy radio said doctors had confirmed that the women, a mother and daughter aged 42 and 26, had been poisoned with highly toxic thallium.

According to Kommersant, FSB thinks the poisoning is an attempt to cover up theft traces, the victims' jewellery was stolen.

49-year-old Marina Kovalevskaya and her 26-year-old daughter Yana emigrated from the USSR to the U.S. in mid-1980s, and settled in Los Angeles. However, they often visited Moscow to see their relatives and friends. Their last visit to Russia began in February. They were staying in Grand Marriott hotel.

The women felt unwell after a party on February 23. Marina Kovalevskaya called American Clinic next morning at 5 a.m. and complained that she and her daughter "have strong pain and numbness in their legs".

Then they were brought to American Medical Center by ambulance. Yet, the Center's doctors could not make the precise diagnosis.

Thallium was initially suspected in the poisoning of former Federal Security Service agent Alexander Litvinenko, before it was realised that the toxin was polonium-210.

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