LONDON, January 21. /TASS/. A public inquiry in Britain has named Russian citizens Andrey Lugovoy and Dmitry Kovtun as those who put to death former FSB officer Alexander Litvinenko in London in 2006. A report of the inquiry was published in London earlier on Thursday.
"I am sure that Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun knew that they were using a deadly poison (as opposed, for example, to a truth drug or a sleeping draught), and that they intended to kill Mr Litvinenko," Inquiry Judge Robert Owen said. "When Mr Lugovoy poisoned Mr Litvinenko, it is probable that he did so under the direction of FSB (Russia’s Federal Security Service)," he said adding that "I have found that Mr Kovtun also took part in the poisoning."
"The FSB operation to kill Mr Litvinenko was probably approved by Mr Patrushev and also by President Putin," Owen concluded.
The public probe into the Litvinenko case was launched in a London court last January. The original expectation was the probe would be over in March 2015, but eventually it was prolonged when Russian businessman Dmitry Kovtun declared his intention to testify. Kovtun, whom London suspected of complicity in Litvinenko’s death, eventually refused to appear as a witness. After the open phase the hearings continued behind closed doors. According to counsel Robin Tam, the open hearings lasted 34 days. Testimonies by 62 witnesses were heard.
Litvinenko who had been an officer of the Federal Security Service, the successor to the KGB, defected to England where he received political asylum. He died in London on November 23, 2006. As an expert study found, he was poisoned with radioactive polonium but the circumstances of his death have not been established to date. The lawyers of the poisoned agent’s widow admitted that before his death Litvinenko had worked for the special services of the United Kingdom (MI-6) and Spain for several years.