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Litvinenko Case 'Harming' U.K.-Russian Relations

Sergei Lavrov (file photo) (epa) December 4, 2006 -- Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says the poisoning death of former Russian intelligence officer Aleksandr Litvinenko is harming relations between Russia and Great Britain.

Lavrov, speaking during a visit to Brussels, said it was "unacceptable" that a "campaign should be whipped up involving officials." He said both sides should avoid "politicizing" Litvinenko's death.

Shortly afterward, British Home Secretary John Reid said a team of British investigators had left for Moscow as part of a widening probe into Litvinenko's death.

"The police will, of course, as they do in all these cases, go where the evidence leads," Reid said. "And the [British] foreign secretary has already got assurances from her Russian colleagues and her opposite number that the Russian government will give us all the assistance that is necessary, and the police are already on their way to Russia and will go anywhere else that is necessary in order to investigate the circumstances of a suspicious death."

Litvinenko died last month after ingesting a quantity of the rare radioactive isotope polonium-210. In a deathbed letter, he blamed President Vladimir Putin for his death, but the Kremlin has denied any involvement.

(compiled from agency reports)

Aleksandr Litvinenko: A Timeline

Aleksandr Litvinenko: A Timeline

CLOAK AND DAGGER: A timeline of a murder case that unraveled after Andrei Litvinenko, a former Russian security officer and vocal Kremlin critic, dies on November 23, 2006, of poisoning by radioactive isotope polonium-210.

In a deathbed letter, Litvinenko blames Russian President Vladimir Putin for his death -- a claim Putin condemns.

Investigators center on two meetings in London that Litvinenko had described -- one in which he met with two Russians for tea in London, and another in which he met with a third Russian at a sushi bar.

Six months later, British prosecutors announce they have enough evidence to charge a Russian citizen -- one of the men who had met with Litvinenko for tea -- with the murder ...more...

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