Court finds Russia was behind 2006 poisoning of ex-spy in London


The European Court of Human Rights on Tuesday ruled that Russia is responsible for the 2006 assassination of former KGB officer Alexander Litvinenko, who died after being poisoned by a radioactive substance, Reuters reported

Litvinenko, a Kremlin critic and defector, died three weeks after his green tea was poisoned in London with the rare radioactive substance polonium-210. 

The former KGB agent reportedly told authorities while on his deathbed that he believed Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinPutin’s party wins big majority in Russian parliamentary elections Putin’s party expected to keep control of lower house amid fraud complaints Clinton lawyer’s indictment reveals ‘bag of tricks’ MORE ordered the killing, and a 2016 British investigation concluded Putin had likely ordered the attack. 

Moscow and those accused of carrying out the assassination have denied involvement in Litvinenko’s murder. 

The 2016 investigation found that former KGB bodyguard Andrei Lugovoy and another Russian, Dmitry Kovtun, poisoned Litvinenko, likely at the direction of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB). 

The European court endorsed those finding, stating “beyond reasonable doubt that the assassination had been carried out by Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun”.

“The planned and complex operation involving the procurement of a rare deadly poison, the travel arrangements for the pair, and repeated and sustained attempts to administer the poison indicated that Mr Litvinenko had been the target of the operation,” it said. 

The Kremlin quickly denounced the findings, with spokesman Dmitry Peskov calling the ruling “extremely idiotic and damaging to the reputation of the European Court of Human Rights,” according to Reuters. 

“The ECHR hardly has the authority or technological capacity to possess information on the matter,” he said. “There are still no results from this investigation and making such claims is at the very least unsubstantiated.”


Earlier Tuesday, British authorities announced progress in a separate Russian poisoning case — saying they had ample evidence to charge a third alleged Russian spy with the attempted assassination of a separate Russian defector turned British spy and his daughter. 

Arrest warrants were issued by British authorities who also submitted applications for Interpol notices for the three suspected agents of the Russian military intelligence service (GRU). Russia does not allow extradition of its citizens. 

Moscow has denied the allegations, and Russian president Vladimir Putin has said the men were civilians, according to The Associated Press.