LONDON, July 24 (RIA Novosti) - Moscow is among the key stakeholders in finding out the truth about the death of Russia's Alexander Litvinenko back in 2006, who was a former Federal Security Service officer, Russian Ambassador to London Alexander Yakovenko said Thursday.
"Russia is among the most interested parties in establishing the truth in this dark business. Simply because serious allegations against the Russian Federation have been made publicly. We have always asked the British authorities to provide evidence, which, as they claim, they have, accusing Russian citizens [of the involvement in Litvinenko's death]. But these requests were rejected," the ambassador said at a press conference in London.
"The British government has refused to provide this evidence upon request of the Coroner conducting the inquiry. Now, as we understand, the evidence will be examined in private hearings, closed to the public, presumably for reasons of national security. We will never accept any decision based on evidence which had not been considered in a competitive open trial," the Ambassador said.
On Tuesday, UK Home Secretary Theresa May agreed to a public inquiry on the Litvinenko case after a number of refusals to do so, arguing that the existing enquiry connected with the case of Litvinenko's death is sufficient. The first hearing of the respective proceedings will be held on July 31. At the same time the investigation dropped alleged charges against the British side for failing to prevent Litvinenko's death.
It is an issue that could not be investigated during the inquest into Litvinenko’s death earlier, as the inquest did not allow considering certain sensitive material on the case.
Litvinenko’s widow Marina Litvinenko won a High Court ruling that May should reconsider her decision not to allow a public inquiry. Coroner Sir Robert Owen, who was conducting the inquest into Litvinenko’s death, proposed a public inquiry as a more appropriate measure instead of an inquest, since it would allow the consideration of sensitive material in private.
With public inquiry approved by the UK government, this material, potentially relating to the alleged role of Russia in Litvinenko’s death, can be used in the investigation.
Litvinenko died on November 23, 2006 of poisoning by radioactive polonium-210 in London. His health began to deteriorate after he met up with former colleagues Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitry Kovtun for a cup of tea in London's Millennium hotel.