Russia has reacted to Sir Robert Owen’s report on Alexander Litvinenko’s death with an iciness comparable to a winter’s morning in Moscow.
The Foreign Ministry
Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Maria Zakharova, said the public inquiry was “politically motivated and highly opaque, and prepared with a pre-determined ‘correct’ result in mind.”
Alexander Yakovenko, the Russian Ambassador to the UK, added:
“For us it is absolutely unacceptable that the report concludes that the Russian state was in any way involved in the death of Mr Litvinenko on British soil. This gross provocation of the British authorities cannot help hurting our bilateral relations.”
President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, labelled the report’s findings an example of “subtle British humour.” Labelling the process a “joke”, he said:
“But you can put that down to subtle British humour, when an open public inquiry hangs on classified information from unnamed intelligence services and is based on prolific use of the words ‘possibly’ and ‘probably’.”
Meanwhile, Andrei Lugovoi, one of the parties accused of poisoning Litvinenko, told Interfax news agency the outcome showed a “narrow-mindedness and lack of desire among the British to find the real reason for the death.”
The nationalist MP went on to say:
“I hope this ‘polonium process’ will once and for all dispel the myth about the impartiality of British justice.”
Residents of the Russian capital also weighed in.
Gleb Kononov said:
“I think the conclusion is unlikely; that such a decision to kill a former Lieutenant Colonel in the FSB would be made personally at such a high level is unlikely, no matter what he did. It’s probably a decision on a local level But where, exactly?”
While another local resident called Semen Mikhailovich gave his own theory on why the Russian was murdered:
“He knew a lot. Litvinenko knew a lot.In my opinion, that’s why he was killed.”