Public Inquiry Omits UK Special Services 'Interest in Litvinenko Death'

© AFP 2022An art gallery visitor looks at a painting showing Alexander Litvinenko
An art gallery visitor looks at a painting showing Alexander Litvinenko - Sputnik International
A UK public inquiry into the death of former Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) officer Alexander Litvinenko ignores the issue of UK special service culpability in Litvinenko's murder, the Russian Embassy to the United Kingdom said in a statement.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — A public inquiry into the death of Litvinenko, who defected from Russia to the United Kingdom in 2000 and died in 2006, was formally set up by the UK government on July 31, 2014.

"The remit of the 'public inquiry' does omit the issue of British special services’ responsibility in Litvinenko’s death, which was on the agenda of the Coroner’s inquest," the statement by the embassy read Thursday.

According to the statement, the United Kingdom in 2014 suspended a Coroner inquest, in which the Russian Investigative Committee would have had the status of an "interested person," instead launching a secret "public inquiry" with evidence from the British special services "examined at closed-door hearings."

"As to the open hearings, they served to release hysterical rhetoric of selected witnesses, including anonymous and "professional" critics of Russia and defectors," the embassy added.

Alexander Litvinenko, former KGB spy and author of the book Blowing Up Russia: Terror From Within photographed at his home in London. (File) - Sputnik International
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The embassy statement pointed out that the inquiry commenced after the mysterious deaths of key witnesses for the investigation — David West, owner of the restaurant where, according to Scotland Yard, Litvinenko was poisoned with the radioactive isotope polonium-210 by his former colleagues Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitry Kovtun, and of Boris Berezovsky, a self-exiled Russian tycoon, who intended to return to Russia.

Lugovoi and Kovtun, according to the embassy, could be framed by British intelligence services, who knew that Russia "would not extradite them, and thus, there will be no need for an open court."

In late July, Sir Robert Owen, the chairman of the public inquiry into Litvinenko's death, said that the report on the case would be finalized and published by December 25.

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