British Litvinenko inquiry 'politically motivated,' not transparent: Russia

21st January 2016, Comments 0 comments

Moscow on Thursday slammed the results of a British inquiry into the poisoning death of former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko after the findings said President Vladimir Putin "probably approved" the killing.

"We regret that a purely criminal case was politicised and darkened the general atmosphere of bilateral relations," foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a statement.

"We had no reason to expect that the final findings of the politically motivated and extremely non-transparent process, which has been skewed to achieve the predetermined, 'needed' result, would suddenly become objective and unbiased," she said.

She added that Moscow needed more time to study the findings.

A British inquiry into Kremlin critic Litvinkeko's agonising death by radiation poisoning in 2006 found that Putin and security chief Nikolai Patrushev had "probably approved" the killing.

The conclusion is likely to deliver a major blow to the already strained bilateral ties between Moscow and London.

There was no immediate reaction from Putin's office.

The main suspect, former KGB agent Andrei Lugovoi, said that the British inquiry's charges that he poisoned Litvinenko were absurd and aimed at damaging Moscow.

"The accusations against me are absurd," Lugovoi told news agency Interfax.

"The results of the inquiry made public today once again confirm London's anti-Russian stance, tunnel thinking and the unwillingness of the British to establish the true cause of Litvinenko's death."

Lugovoi -- who was elected to Russia's parliament in the wake of the Litvinenko's death -- pointed out that the start of the official British inquiry coincided with the Ukraine crisis and accused London of pursuing the "polonium scandal" for its own political goals.

"I am hoping that this 'polonium process' will dispel a myth about the impartiality of British justice," Lugovoi said.

He was not immediately available for further comment.

Another suspect, businessman Dmitry Kovtun, told Interfax he wanted to receive more information before commenting on the findings.

Litvinenko was poisoned with radioactive tea at an upmarket London hotel.

Lugovoi and Kovtun were identified by British police as prime suspects but attempts to extradite the pair have failed.

© 2016 AFP

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