A government inquiry by the United Kingdom finds that Russian President Vladimir Putin most likely approved the murder of former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko in 2006.
Litvinenko was poisoned with polonium-210 while living in asylum in the United Kingdom after defecting from Russia. At the time, many press reports and pundits pointed the finger at Putin for the murder and Litvinenko blamed Putin in his dying words, but no Western government has actually blamed the Russian leader before now.
The inquiry’s concludes that Litvinenko was murdered by two Russian agents, Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitry Kovtun, on the orders of Putin. The key evidence pointing to Putin was apparently secret intelligence presented in a closed session.
The Russian government of course hotly contested the report. “We regret that the purely criminal case was politicized and overshadowed the general atmosphere of bilateral relations,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement. Meanwhile, Prime Minister David Cameron has promised to bring up the report in his next meeting with Putin.
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