President Vladimir Putin probably approved a Russian intelligence operation to murder former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko.
That’s the conclusion of a UK inquiry, led by senior British judge Sir Robert Owen, into the 2006 London killing.
British prime minister David Cameron has condemned Russia over the inquiry’s findings, widening a rift with Moscow.
“What happened was absolutely appalling and this report confirms what we’ve always believed and what the last Labour government believed at the time of this dreadful murder, is that it was state-sponsored action and that is why the last government took the action expelling Russian diplomats, issuing arrest warrants, refusing to cooperate with Russian intelligence agencies and those measures continue,” Cameron said in a televised interview.
From his deathbed, Litvinenko reportedly told detectives he believed Putin had directly ordered his killing.
Litvinenko died after drinking green tea laced with radioactive polonium at the Millennium Hotel in London.
The inquiry found that former KGB bodyguard Andrei Lugovoy and another Russian Dmitry Kovtun carried out the killing as part of an operation probably directed by Russia’s Federal Security Service.