UK inquiry hears Kremlin ordered killing of Litvinenko

British inquiry claims that Russian state responsible for killing of former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko, saying Putin has ‘personally ordered’ murder which was committed in London in 2006

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

The British inquiry concerning the murder of Alexander Litvinenko came up with a conclusion on Friday that indicated the Kremlin was behind the killing of the former Russian spy in London in 2006.

The inquiry claimed that 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.

"The evidence suggests that the only credible explanation is that in one form or another the Russian state was involved in Litvinenko's murder," Richard Horwell, the lawyer acting for London police, said in closing remarks to the British inquiry.

The UK authorities claimed in the inquiry report that they have found plutonium used to poison him, which amounted to "a nuclear attack on the streets" of London.

The 43-year-old Litvinenko had died weeks after he drank a cup of green tea laced with polonium-210 of which the Russian state security service has long been accused as he also pointed Russian President Vladimir Putin for his poison attack from his deathbed at the hospital.

The British judicial authorities have long been insisting that two men who were supposedly authorised by the Kremlin have poisoned Litvinenko according to evidence revealed by the inquiry.    

The former KGB agents Dmitry Kovtun and Andrei Lugovoi were known as two of the old friends of Litvinenko and believed to have organised his murder in London when they met Litvinenko at the hotel.

"No matter how many state honors Putin may pin to Lugovoi’s chest for services to the mother ... or how many times Kovtun promises to blow apart this inquiry, Lugovoy and Kovtun have no credible answer to the scientific evidence and the trail of polonium they left behind," Horwell said on the issue.

Ben Emmerson, lawyer for Litvinenko's widow Marina, said, "If the Russian state is responsible, Putin is responsible," and added that, "He personally ordered the liquidation of an enemy who was bent on exposing him and his cronies."

Marina Litvinenko also accused the Russian state of committing “nuclear terrorism” in London and of Putin for ordering her husband’s murder through the 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 the Kremlin policies after he obtained the British citizenship in London where he wrote several books which gave an inside-looking criticism of Russian deep state.   

The UK authorities have long been demanding the extradition of Kovtun and Lugovoi from Russia since 2006, but the 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 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