The man Britain wants to extradite over the fatal poisoning of former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko has said he is innocent and claims the charges against him are politically motivated. Speaking in Russia Andrei Lugovoy said he and his family were victims in the affair.
Litvinenko died in London last November after falling ill with what was diagnosed as poisoning by polonium, a radioactive substance. Britain says it expects Russian authorities to cooperate with the extradition request. But they have only raised the prospect of a possible trial in Russia.
Extradition lawyer Julian Knowles said: “There is no doubt that Russia is extremely irritated with Britain because of the failure of a number of Russian extradition requests to the United Kingdom. So Russia will take this opportunity to thumb its nose at the United Kingdom and probably not cooperate in the way that it should,” he said.
Litvinenko, a Kremlin critic, became ill hours after meeting Lugovoy and another Russian businessman in London. From his deathbed he accused President Vladimir Putin of involvement in his murder, a claim dismissed as “ridiculous” by Moscow.