Russia has sharply criticised the conclusions of a UK inquiry into the 2006 poisoning death of former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko.
The report by Robert Owen found there is a “strong probability” that Russia’s FSB spy agency directed the killing, and the operation was “probably approved” by Russian president Vladimir Putin.
However, Mr Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters today that “such a quasi-investigation such as the one being talked about today undoubtedly is able only to still further poison the atmosphere of our bilateral relations”.
He added that the report “cannot be accepted by us as a verdict”.
The Russian Embassy in London issued a statement saying they consider Mr Litvinenko’s case – and the way the investigation was handled – to be a “blatant provocation” from British authorities.
In Moscow, Russia’s Investigative Committee said the Litvinenko investigation ceased being a criminal investigation and had transformed into a full-fledged political event last year.
Mr Litvinenko died in November 2006 after he drank tea laced with polonium-210 at a London hotel.