Litvinenko inquiry will disrupt ties with UK, says Lavrov

Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov says Litvinenko inquiry will disrupt British-Russian relations

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (C) holds his annual press conference in Moscow, Russia on January 26, 2016.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday that an inquiry chaired by a British judge into the death of Kremlin critic Alexander Litvinenko, in London, will seriously complicate Russian-British ties.

"There is one thing I can agree to in what the British Foreign Office said: the Litvinenko case will further complicate our bilateral relations. That's to what I agree completely. But it is not the Litvinenko case, but the show around the Litvinenko case," Lavrov told a press conference.

Lavrov also stressed that Russia was waiting for a neutral investigation related to the death of Litvinenko.

“We want the United Kingdom to carry out unbiased investigations into the increased cases of the deaths of Russian citizens about whom they forget in several months, not in 10 years, and tell us nothing about this,” he added.

The British inquiry claimed that the Russian state was directly involved in the 2006 poisoning of ex-KGB agent, Litvinenko, with a polonium radioactive isotope at London's plush Millennium hotel.

Previously, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Britain's judge-led an inquiry into the murder of the ex-KBG agent Alexander Litvinenko that may “poison” mutual relationship between Moscow and London.

Peskov said that Russia would give "all necessary answers via diplomatic channels."

"Such quasi investigations, like the one we are talking about today, are capable of further poisoning the atmosphere of our bilateral ties," said Peskov.

Marina Litvinenko, Alexander’s wife, has also accused the Russian state of committing “nuclear terrorism” in London and that Putin ordered her husband’s murder through aforementioned Russian agents, Kovtun and Lugovoi.

"My husband was killed by agents of the Russian state in the first ever act of nuclear terrorism on the streets of London and this could not have happened without the knowledge and consent of Mr Putin," she told reporters.

Litvinenko had become one of the fierce critics of Putin and Kremlin policies after he obtained British citizenship in London, where he wrote several books that gave an inside-look into the criticism of the deep Russian state.   

The UK authorities have long been demanding the extradition of Kovtun and Lugovoi from Russia, since 2006, but Kremlin denied its alleged role in the killing of Litvinenko and rejected returning of those names to Britain.

Since then, the issue has been distressing London and Moscow by lowering the bilateral relations to the level of the Cold War, as the parties also clashed over the crises surrounding the Eastern Europe, due to both Russia’s assertiveness and the NATO’s expansion towards the region.

TRTWorld and agencies