Russia rejects spy death blame

Russia has denied that it was involved in the murder of Kremlin critic and former spy Alexander Litvinenko in London in 2006. A British lawyer told a hearing into Litvinenko's poisoning that the Russian government was likely involved in his death.

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Russia rejects blame in murder of ex-spy Litvinenko

Police officers outside the home of former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko in London. Picture Date: Saturday 25 November, 2006.
Police officers outside the home of former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko in London. Picture Date: Saturday 25 November, 2006. Credit: PA

Russia has denied that it was involved in the murder of Kremlin critic and former spy Alexander Litvinenko in London in 2006.

A British lawyer told a preliminary hearing into Litvinenko's poisoning that the Russian government was most likely involved in his death, which has soured relations between Moscow and London.

But Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich told reporters: "We hope that as a result of the (legal process)... all the baseless allegations about some kind of a Russian involvement in this affair will be dispelled once and for all."

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Spy wife 'pleased Russian state implicated in murder'

Marina Litvinenko, the wife of former spy Alexander Litvinenko
Marina Litvinenko, the wife of former spy Alexander Litvinenko Credit: Press Association

The wife of former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko said the inquest into her husband's death should consider whether MI6 failed in its duty to protect against a "real and immediate risk to life."

Mr Litvinenko had been hired by MI6 for a number of years and was working with the Spanish secret service investigating the Russian mafia shortly before his death, a pre-inquest review at Camden Town Hall, in London, heard.

Mrs Litvinenko said outside the hearing she was pleased the alleged involvement of the Russian government in her husband's murder would now be considered.

"We've been saying this many times but this is the first time this question has been raised in court."

"I appreciate all that was done today and I'm looking forward to any decision which will be taken by the coroner after today's hearing."

Russian state 'involved in Litvinenko murder'

Evidence found by the Government has shown the Russian state was involved in the murder of former spy Alexander Litvinenko, a pre-inquest hearing heard today.

Alexander Litvinenko died in hospital in November 2006
Alexander Litvinenko died in hospital in November 2006 Credit: Getty Images

Mr Litvinenko died in November 2006 after his tea was poisoned with polonium-210, allegedly after meeting with two Russians: former KGB contacts Andrei Lugovoy and Dmitry Kovtun, in central London.

Hugh Davies, counsel to the inquest into Mr Litvinenko's death, said assessments of confidential material submitted by the British Government had "established a prima facie case as to the culpability of the Russian state in the death of Alexander Litvinenko".

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Litvinenko's widow hopes inquest will reveal truth

Marina Litvinenko, the widow of murdered Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko, has said she hopes the inquest into his death will reveal the truth.

Marina Litvinenko, the widow of murdered Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko Credit: Georgie Gillard/PA Wire

She told the BBC: "It is very important to finalise what happened six years ago in London.

"It is so difficult to live all this life without this truth and without this information. It's difficult for me, and our son, and for our friends."

Parameters of Litvinenko inquest to be decided

The pre-inquest review into the death of Alexander Litvinenko will begin today to decide the parameters for the inquest itself.

It is believed Mr Litvinenko, 43, was poisoned with polonium-210 after having tea with two Russians at a London hotel in 2006, but many questions remain unanswered.

The review will decide how many witnesses there will be, how to disclose the details of Scotland Yard's investigation and whether there will be a website for the public to follow the inquest.