Britain, Russia 'resume intelligence cooperation' after Litvinenko row

7th November 2013, Comments 0 comments

Britain has recently started sharing intelligence with Russia for the first time since the row over the 2006 murder of dissident Alexander Litvinenko in London, the head of the MI6 spy agency said on Thursday.

British and Russian agencies have been cooperating on security for the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi next year, MI6 chief John Sawers told a committee of British lawmakers.

"We've not had the cooperation that we had sought from the Russian authorities" over the death of Litvinenko, a former agent with Russia's FSB agency, he said.

"And so there's been a gap, we haven't talked to the Russians and the Russians haven't talked to us on intelligence matters.

"Actually recently we have started talking to the Russians about security for the Sochi Olympics and that is a dialogue which is going ahead.

"We passed the Olympic flame on from London (which hosted the 2012 Olympics) to Sochi, and we have a certain responsibility there, and we will take it forward step by step."

Litvinenko, 43, was poisoned with radioactive polonium-210 while drinking tea at a London hotel.

His widow Marina has claimed her husband was working for MI6 at the time of his slow and agonising death, and that he was killed on Moscow's orders.

British police have sought the arrest of two Russian nationals in relation to the death -- Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitri Kovtun -- but Moscow has refused to hand them over.

The murder pushed relations between the two countries into deep freeze but ties have improved since 2011, when Cameron visited Russia.

© 2013 AFP

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