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Russian ambassador finds results of UK probe into Litvinenko death "difficult to accept"

The ambassador stressed that the Russian side couldn't take party in the process as the public inquiry was closed for the public and for the press
Robert Owen, chairman of the UK public inquiry into the death of Alexander Litvinenko AP Photo/John Stillwell, Pool
Robert Owen, chairman of the UK public inquiry into the death of Alexander Litvinenko
© AP Photo/John Stillwell, Pool

LONDON, February 10. /TASS/. Moscow won’t accept the results of the public inquiry in the UK into the circumstances of the death of Russia’s former Federal Security Service (FSB, former KGB) officer Alexander Litvinenko, Russian Ambassador to London Alexander Yakovenko told TASS on Wednesday.

The very fact of publishing these findings does not inspire optimism with regard to the level of Russian-British relations, Yakovenko said, commenting on the Litvinenko probe results released in London on January 21.

"The decision has been made. The process was closed for the public and for the press and the judge’s conclusions were accompanied by the phrases like ‘probably', 'possibly' and so on," Yakovenko said.

"All this sounds unconvincingly for us because we could not take part in the process, we didn’t read the documents and it is difficult for us to accept its results," the Russian ambassador said.

In Yakovenko’s opinion, this story does not contribute to the improvement of the relations between Russia and the UK.

"As for other issues, first of all, the political dialog, and other areas of cooperation, we so far do not see the political will of the British side. Moreover, the latest event related, in particular, to the judicial process on the Litvinenko case, does not add optimism," Yakovenko said.

 Public inquiry results

London saw the presentation of a report on the results of the so-called public inquiry into the Litvinenko affair on January 21 this year. It claimed that Russia was involved in the death of the former FSB officer and that two Russians - Andrey Lugovoy and Dmitry Kovtun - were the ones who put the man to death. The report said, though, the court was unable to confirm Russian origin of polonium - the substance that according to British forensic experts had been used to poison Litvinenko.

The judge also suggested the "operation to kill Mr Litvinenko was probably approved by Mr Patrushev and also by President Putin." 

The Russian ambassador was summoned to the British Foreign Office, and Prime Minister David Cameron did not rule out the possibility of more sanctions against Russia.

Moscow is certain that London’s probe into the Litvinenko case has as political background. As the Russian Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson Maria Zakharova said Russia had no reasons to expect the final report would be objective and impartial.

Alexander Litvinenko, who had been granted asylum in Britain, died in London on November 23, 2006. Forensic examination found that his death was due to poisoning with polonium, but all circumstances of his death have not been established yet and remain a controversy. The lawyers of Litvinenko’s widow have acknowledged that before the moment of his death Litvinenko had long been on the payroll of Britain’s secret service (foreign intelligence MI6) and of Spanish intelligence. Shortly before his death he obtained British citizenship.