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Public inquiry into Russian spy death formally opens

A public inquiry into the death of spy Alexander Litvinenko - who was poisoned with radioactive polonium-210 - has been formally opened.

The current inquest into the Russian spy's death has been suspended by coroner Sir Robert Owen ahead of the inquiry opening.

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Litvinenko's widow 'delighted' about public inquiry

Alexander Litvinenko's widow said she is "relieved and delighted" that a public inquiry is to be held in her husband's 2006 death.

Marina Litvinenko. Credit: PA

Referring to her husband as Sacha, the name her husband's loved ones knew him by, Marina Litvinenko said: "I am relieved and delighted with this decision. It sends a message to Sacha's murderers: no matter how strong and powerful you are, truth will win out in the end and you will be held accountable for your crimes.

She added: "It has taken nearly eight years to bring those culpable for Sacha's murder to justice. I look forward to the day when the truth behind my husband's murder is revealed for the whole world to see."

Last year, the government rejected a request for an inquiry into the killing of Litvinenko, who died after drinking tea poisoned with polonium - 210, a rare radioactive isotope.

In a letter to Sir Robert Owen, the current Coroner in the Inquest into Mr. Litvinenko’s death, May admitted "international relations" were a factor in the Government's decision.

Sir Robert will chair the new public inquiry.

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