15:02 GMT18 January 2021
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    Dmitry Kovtun, the primary suspect in the murder of former Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) officer Alexander Litvinenko told his colleague he was planning the killing to "set an example," an anonymous witness in the case said at a hearing on Friday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Earlier in the day, an open hearing for the Litvinenko Inquiry took place at the Royal Courts of Justice in London. Kovtun's former co-workers with codenames D3 and D6 gave testimonies in written form and by video link from Germany.

    "Dmitri said it must set an example. He intended to lure Litvinenko out with an interview and then poison him," D3 said, as quoted in the transcript.

    According to Scotland Yard, Dmitry Kovtun, together with former FSB officer Andrei Lugovoi, poisoned Litvinenko's tea with radioactive polonium-210 on November 1, 2006. Litvinenko died three weeks later from radiation sickness.

    Witness D3, who worked with the suspect in a Hamburg restaurant in the 1990s, said that days before the alleged poisoning of Litvinenko, Kovtun had asked whether he knew a cook who could assist in the killing of Litvinenko. Kovtun also referred to Litvinenko as a “traitor" with "blood on his hands,” according to the witness. Litvinenko defected from Russia to Britain in 2000.

    A public inquiry into the death of the former FSB officer was formally set up by the UK government on July 31, 2014.

    Both Kovtun and Lugovoi denied their involvement in Litvinenko's death. Moscow has denied extradition of the two men.

    Kovtun is expected to testify at the Royal Courts of Justice via video link from Moscow on July 27-29.

    Alexander Litvinenko
    © AP Photo
    Alexander Litvinenko


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