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Marina Litvinenko: People Behind My Husband's Killing Will Be Exposed 'One Day'

  • RFE/RL

Marina Litvinenko (file photo)

Marina Litvinenko (file photo)

WASHINGTON -- The widow of former Russian security agent Aleksandr Litvinenko says that the identities of those responsible for her husband's 2006 poisoning death will eventually be revealed.

Speaking nearly two months after a British inquiry concluded her spouse's death was likely ordered by the Russian state, Marina Litvinenko said that she believes secret evidence heard during the public inquiry will at some point "be not so sensitive, and they will be able to be produced in a court."

"I believe one day we will know who provided this first act of nuclear terrorism in the streets of London," she told а March 15 news conference held at VOA in Washington.

British investigators have concluded that Litvinenko ingested the highly radioactive isotope polonium 210 while drinking tea in a luxury London hotel with Russian citizens Dmitry Kovtun and Andrei Lugovoi.

He died in a London hospital three weeks later, on November 23, 2006.

In his findings issued on January 21, Robert Owen, the judge who headed the British public inquiry, said that there was a "strong probability" that that poisoning was carried out on orders from Russia's main spy agency and was "probably approved" by President Vladimir Putin.

Aleksandr Litvinenko in 1998

Aleksandr Litvinenko in 1998

Moscow has dismissed the inquiry as "opaque" and "politically motivated." Kovtun and Lugovoi, whom Russia refuses to extradite, have denied involvement despite traces of polonium that British investigators say the two left across London.

The inquiry included both public hearings and sessions closed to the public because they included the airing of relevant documents that Owen described as "of such sensitivity that they cannot be used in open court."

Aleksandr Litvinenko had worked for the Federal Security Service (FSB) -- the main successor agency to the KGB -- before moving to Britain in 2000 and becoming an outspoken critic of Putin.

Marina told the inquiry that her husband had been a loyal Russian agent who grew disillusioned with Russia's 1990s war in Chechnya. He was also disillusioned by what he saw as corruption within the agency, she said.

At the time of his death, her husband was reportedly working for MI6, Britain's foreign intelligence service.

She has called on the British government to impose "targeted economic sanctions and travel bans against named individuals...including Mr. Putin."

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