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UK judge says Putin 'probably' approved poisoning of ex-Russian spy

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 Cinnamon    24,724

Russian President Vladimir Putin 'probably ordered' the killing of a former Russian spy ten years ago, a report by a British judge concluded Thursday.

Judge Robert Owen said Thursday that he is certain Alexander Litvinenko was given tea laced with a fatal dose of polonium-210 at a London hotel in November 2006.

Owen also said there was a "strong probability" that Russia's FSB security service, the successor agency to the notorious KGB, directed the killing. In his 326-page report, Owen said that based on the evidence he had seen, the operation to kill Litvinenko was "probably" approved by then-FSB head Nikolai Patrushev and by Putin.

Litvinenko fled to Britain in 2000 after breaking with Putin and his inner circle. In the years before his death, the former spy became a vocal critic of the Russian leader, whom he accused of links to organized crime.

Before he died, Litvinenko accused Putin of ordering his killing, but Owen's report appears to be the first time anyone has officially linked Putin to it.

Owen said Litvinenko "was regarded as having betrayed the FSB" with his actions, and that "there were powerful motives for organizations and individuals within the Russian state to take action against Mr. Litvinenko, including killing him."

Litvinenko's widow Marina said outside the High Court she was "very pleased that the words my husband spoke on his deathbed when he accused Mr. Putin have been proved by an English court."

She called for British Prime Minister David Cameron to take urgent steps against Russian agents operating inside Britain in light of the report.

"I'm calling immediately for expulsion from the UK of all Russian intelligence operatives ... based at the London embassy," she said. "I'm also calling for the imposition of targeted economic sanctions and travel bans against named individuals including Mr. (former FSB chief Nikolai) Patrushev and Mr. Putin."



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 Cinnamon    24,724

UK to summon Russian ambassador over 'failure to cooperate' in Litvinenko case

The UK will summon the Russian ambassador to ‘express displeasure’ over a lack of cooperation in the investigation of the killing of Aleksandr Litvinenko, Home Secretary Theresa May said.

The secretary was speaking to the parliament after the publication of a public inquiry report, which claimed that Litvinenko, who died in London in 2006 from radioactive poisoning, was killed in an operation of the Russian intelligence “probably” authorized by President Vladimir Putin.

May said the British government plans to freeze assets of Andrey Lugovoy and Dmitry Kovtun, whom the report accused of killing Litvinenko.

Prime Minister David Cameron’s office said the British government had considered further action against Russia.

"The conclusion that the murder was authorized at the highest levels of the Russian state is extremely disturbing," a spokeswoman for the PM told reporters. "It is not the way for any state, let alone a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, to behave."



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