'Probably Approved' Litvinenko Killing: UK Inquiry
January 21, 2016 "Information
- Russian President Vladimir Putin
"probably approved" the killing of ex-spy Alexander Litvinenko in London, a British inquiry into his
agonising death by radiation poisoning found
a prominent Kremlin critic, died three weeks after
drinking tea laced with radioactive polonium at an
upmarket London hotel in 2006.
Russians, Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitri Kovtun, were
identified by British police as prime suspects but
attempts to extradite the pair have failed.
findings of the 300-page report pile pressure on
Britain to act against Russia in response. Home
Secretary Theresa May is due to outline the
government reaction in a statement to parliament
later on Thursday.
operation to kill Litvinenko was probably approved
by Mr (Nikolai) Patrushev and also by President
Putin," the report said.
is a former director of the FSB, the successor
organisation to the Soviet-era KGB spy agency, and
has been a key security minister since 2008.
"I am sure
that Mr Lugovoi and Mr Kovtun placed the
polonium-210 in the teapot at the Pine Bar on
November 1, 2006," judge Robert Owen, the inquiry's
chairman, said in the report.
dismissed the findings, calling the inquiry
"We had no
reason to expect that the final findings of the
politically motivated and extremely non-transparent
process... would suddenly become objective and
unbiased," foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria
Zakharova said in a statement.
now a lawmaker in Russia, described it as "absurd".
London of "tunnel thinking" and an unwillingness to
establish the true cause of Litvinenko's death in
comments to news agency Interfax.
Litvinenko's widow Marina, who spent years pushing
for a public inquiry to be held, urged Britain to
impose sanctions against Russia and a travel ban on
pleased that the words my husband spoke on his
deathbed when he accused Mr Putin of his murder have
been proved true in an English court," she told
for a state body' -
43, was poisoned in a bar at London's Millennium
Hotel by a cup of tea poisoned with polonium-210 --
an extremely expensive radioactive isotope only
available in closed nuclear facilities.
that Mr Litvinenko was poisoned with polonium-210
that had been manufactured in a nuclear reactor
suggests that Mr Lugovoi and Mr Kovtun were
a state body rather than say a criminal organisation,"
the inquiry report said.
chairman Robert Owen said that there was "no
evidence" to suggest that either Lugovoi or Kovtun
had any personal reason to kill Litvinenko and they
were likely to be acting under FSB direction.
an ex-KGB agent turned freelance investigator who
also worked for British intelligence, accused Putin
of ordering his killing in a statement before he
died in agony three weeks later on November 23,
there was "undoubtedly a personal dimension to the
antagonism" between Putin and Litvinenko, citing
"repeated highly personal attacks" which the former
spy made on the Russian president.
Litvinenko's killing caused public outrage in
Britain after radioactive traces were found at
various sites around London. It was dubbed by the
media as the world's
of "nuclear terrorism".
government announced the inquiry in July 2014, just
days after the downing of a Malaysian passenger jet
over eastern Ukraine -- a tragedy blamed on Russia's
involvement in the conflict in the region -- in what
was seen as a way of punishing Russia.
had fled Russia in 2000 and was granted asylum in
Britain, later becoming a British citizen and
converting to Islam after befriending exiled Chechen
said there was "strong evidence" that he was seen
within the FSB as "someone who had betrayed that
buried in a London cemetery with Muslim rites in a
lead-lined coffin to prevent radiation leakage.
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