Friday, November 21, 2008

Andrei Lugovoy To Meet With Scotland Yard

Britain's principal suspects in the death of Aleksandr Litvinenko have finally agreed to meet with Scotland Yard. This most surprising turn of events comes two days before the two year anniversary of Litvinenko's death from radiation. Andrey Lugovoy, a former KGB officer, who is now deputy of the State Duma for the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, was accused of poisoning Litvinenko with the radioactive isotope polonium-210 on 22 May 2007. Britain's subsequent request for his extradition was not granted by Russia. The main witness in the case, Dmitri Kovtun, also agreed to travel to London to clear their names. Lugovoy and Kovtun both met Litvinenko at the Millennium Hotel in London, where traces of the polonium were found.

Before his death, Litvinenko, a former state security officer, was a vocal critic of the Kremlin. Upon succumbing to radiation poisoning, a previously written statement by Litvinenko was read to the media, lambasting former President Putin as the culprit in his death. This was followed by caustic relations between Great Britain and Russia, both which expelled diplomats from each other's country. Russia also began a crackdown on certain British NGOs in major cities. While this development may signal some degree of cooling of relations between the two countries, given the mounting evidence against him, it is unlikely that Lugovoy will be exculpated.

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