04:59 GMT14 April 2021
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    UK Home Secretary Theresa May fired a verbal salvo at Moscow following the publication of a report that found that former Russian FSB secret service officer Alexander Litvinenko has been poisoned by Polonium-210 in London "probably" on the orders of President Putin.

    Following a public inquiry — many parts of which were conducted in private — Sir Robert Owen concluded that Litvinenko had been poisoned in the Millennium Hotel, London, on November 1, 2006 by two former FSB officers, Andrei Lugovoy and Dmitri Kovtun in reprisal for a series of allegations by Litvinenko after being dismissed from the FSB and fleeing the country.

    Although there has never been a formal inquest into Litvinenko's death, nor a criminal trial, Sir Robert reached his conclusions in what Moscow has described as a "biased and opaque report."

    During her weekly press briefing on Thursday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova described his conclusions as demonizing Russia and its leadership," adding that Moscow had expected such a response from London.

    "There was only one aim and it was obvious from the very beginning [of the inquiry] — to demonize Russia, demonize its official representatives, its leadership," she said.

    Home Secretary May told the House of Commons Thursday the killing of Litvinenko was a "blatant and unacceptable" breach of one the most fundamental tenets of civil law. She said it was a "state sponsored act."

    She has announced that the case be referred to the Crown Prosecution Service and that Interpol notices and European arrest warrants are in place on both Lugovoy and Kovtun and that Treasury official have frozen their assets from today. 

    Ms May referred to a recommendation by Sir Robert in what she called the "closed section" of the report, but told lawmakers she couldn't tell anyone what it was.

    The Russian ambassador in London was summoned to the foreign office for a talk.  

    Zacharova described London's actions as a "politicized farce" and warned that the incident "sets a dangerous precedent for using internal legal mechanisms to achieve political goals."

    Related:

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    Litvinenko Inquiry Raises More Questions Than It Gives Answers
    UK to Summon Russian Ambassador Over Litvinenko Case - Home Secretary
    UK Report on Litvinenko Death Proves London's Anti-Russian Stance - Lugovoy
    Moscow Regrets UK Report on Litvinenko's Death Politicized, Non-Transparent
    UK Report Claims Putin to Blame for Litvinenko Death
    Tags:
    arrest warrants, asset freeze, inquiry, suspects, report, assets, Interpol, Dmitry Kovtun, Andrei Lugovoi, Alexander Litvinenko, Theresa May, Great Britain, United Kingdom, London
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