Wednesday 17 January 2018

Russian suspect in polonium death says he won't cooperate with British police

Steve Gutterman

A Russian suspect in the death of Kremlin critic Alexander Litvinenko said today he would no longer cooperate with a British inquiry into the former KGB agent's radiation poisoning in London

Andrei Lugovoy, a former security agent who is now a member of Russia's parliament, told a news conference in Moscow that Britain was trying to hide the truth about Litvinenko's death in November 2006 by keeping evidence secret.


His announcement could increase tension between Britain and Russia, whose foreign and defence chiefs are due to meet in London on Wednesday in the latest effort to improve relations that frayed over Litvinenko's death.


"I have come to the conclusion that the British authorities will not give me a chance to prove my innocence. I will be unable to get justice in Britain," said Lugovoy, who has denied any involvement in Litvinenko's death.


Russia has denied involvement and refused to extradite Lugovoy to face accusations he killed Litvinenko with a dose of the radioactive isotope polonium-210, but he had appointed lawyers to represent him in a coroner's inquiry into the death.


Lugovoy said a request by British Foreign Secretary William Hague to keep some information about the death secret for national security reasons was turning the inquest into a farce.


Hague and British Defence Secretary Philip Hammond are to discuss international and bilateral issues with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu at the first session of what Moscow calls a "strategic dialogue".


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