In November 2006, Alexander Litnivenko, 43, a former KGB agent who was living in London after defecting from Russia, was poisoned with polonium-210 while drinking tea at the Millenium Hotel in Grosvenor Square.
He died a slow, painful death, succumbing to the poison three weeks later, at a London hospital. Confirmation that he had been poisoned with the radioactive substance, available only from one of the world’s nuclear powers, seriously damaged Britain’s relationship with Russia.
Mr Litvinenko wrote a letter on his death bed directly accusing Vladimir Putin, the Russian President, of arranging to have him poisoned. Andrei Lugovoy, a former KGB agent, who was present – together with another Russian, Dmitry Kovtun – when Litvinenko drank the poisoned tea, is named by prosecutors as the principal suspect in the case. Russia has refused to send Lugovoy to Britain for questioning. Lugovoy is now an elected member of the Russian parliament. He achieved this position with the strong support of then-Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
Alexander Litvinenko may well have been serving as an MI6 agent at the time of his death. He may have been interviewed by MI5 while on his death bed. Such possible relationships will be kept secret at the request of the British government during the forthcoming full inquest concerning the nature of his death. The Metropolitan Police Service is already fully informed about any such relationships.
Ben Emerson, Queen’s Counsel for Litvinenko’s widow, Marina, states that she wants to know whether her husband’s death was a ‘targeted assassination of a British citizen committed by agents of a foreign state in the sovereign territory of the United Kingdom. If this were proved to be the case, it would amount to state-sponsored nuclear terrorism on the streets of London.’
Vladimir Putin must be assumed innocent until he is proved guilty. That is a rule of law that sadly does not exist in Vlady’s Russia. Nevertheless, when George W Bush peered into Vlady’s eyes and saw a good man’s soul, he may well have been unaware that Vlady was wearing contact lens. After all, W was never the brightest bulb in any room. And Vlady does not appear to be a man from whom one would ever purchase a second-hand car.
By the way, although I am English, I thankfully do not like tea, especially, if I may say so, when it is Russian- brewed. Just in case, Vlady, just in case…
Hat Tip: timesonline.co.uk December 13, 2012