The brother of former Russian FSB secret service agent Aleksandr Litvinenko says the UK government had more motivation to kill him than Russia did, despite a British public inquiry which concluded that President Putin “probably” approved the assassination.
Maksim Litvinenko, Aleksandr’s younger brother who lives in Rimini, Italy, responded to the Thursday report by saying it was “ridiculous” to blame the Kremlin for the murder of his brother, stating that he believes British security services had more of a motive to carry out the assassination.
“My father and I are sure that the Russian authorities are not involved. It’s all a set-up to put pressure on the Russian government,” Litvinenko told the Mirror, adding that such reasoning is the only explanation as to why the inquiry was launched 10 years after his brother’s death.
He called the British report a “smear” on Putin, and stressed that rumors claiming his brother was an enemy of the state are false. He added that Aleksandr had planned to return to Russia, and had even told friends about the move.
Litvinenko went on to downplay his brother’s alleged role as a spy, working for either Russia or MI6, adding that the Western media is to blame for such characterization.
“The Russians had no reason to want Alexander dead,” he said. “My brother was not a spy, he was more like a policeman…he was in the FSB [Russian Federal Security Service] but he worked against organized crime, murders, arms trafficking, stuff like that.”
Suspect links death to MI6
Andrey Lugovoy, one of the accused for his alleged role in the death of Litvinenko, said the British intelligence tried to recruit him before Litvinenko’s death.
On Thursday, an inquiry report said Lugovoy, along with his former colleague Dmitry Kovtun, poisoned Litvinenko with polonium-210.
Participating in the ‘Evening with Vladimir Solovyov’ show on the Rossiya 1 TV channel, Lugovoy said he was likely exposed to polonium simultaneously with Litvinenko.
Lugovoy also drew a connection between the death of Litvinenko and the British Secret Intelligence Service (MI6).
“Litvinenko died in November 2006. In March-April, I was openly offered cooperation [by MI6] and in order to motivate me somehow, I was denied a visa. That was in May 2006. And after I called Litvinenko – I’ve said this multiple times – I was granted a visa all of a sudden. I have always connected these two events,” Lugovoy recalled.
He stressed that prior to May 2006, he had always received British visas without any problems. “They [UK] always gave me visas, and did it with great pleasure before May 2006, when I was denied a visa after the British intelligence MI6 tried recruiting me.”
He does not plan to go to court to clear his name.
“I don’t intend to do that, because if I go into that, it means I will attach importance to what the British are doing, and they are trying to do everything so that we pay more attention to it [the UK inquiry], so that we react to it somehow,” he said.
He also does not want to leave Russia. “I have not left Russia for a long time now and I do not plan to do it.”
‘London relied on forged evidence’
The inquiry report on the Litvinenko affair is based on forged evidence, said Kovtun, one of the two Russians suspected of poisoning Litvinenko.
“There had been no doubts Judge Robert Owen would arrive at such conclusions. These rely on forged evidence and the open hearings exposed that. There were no doubts that when the proceedings continue behind closed doors, forged evidence will be used again,” he said.
Kovtun described the pieces of evidence presented to the inquiry as “insane and easily refutable.”
The witness was giving conflicting testimonies all the time. The case is extremely politicized, he remarked. “Yet I’d hoped for the common sense and courage of Judge Owen. May this decision remain on his conscience,” Kovtun said.
Report not a verdict: Kremlin
The Kremlin does not perceive as verdict any part of the results of investigation into the death of Litvinenko, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Thursday.
“Why am I saying ‘quasi-investigation’ and why can’t we perceive that as an investigation?” Peskov told journalists. “Because the talk is about some judgments based on probability, on the use of words ‘possibly’, ‘probably’.”
“Such terminology is not allowed in Russian judicial practice; nor is it allowed in court practices of other countries, and it certainly can’t be perceived by us as a verdict in any part [of the investigation’s results],” he said.
According to Peskov, the results of the investigation may be ironically “referred to subtle British humor.”
‘Probe biased from the very start’
The inquiry into the case of Litvinenko was conducted in a biased manner from the very beginning, a British political scientist and editor told TASS.
No courts in Britain or anywhere in the world would pass guilty verdicts based on a ‘probability’ of guilt, said Dr. Marcus Papadopoulos, the editor-in-chief of Politics First magazine said.
Judging from the formulations the report contains, the job done was an absolute waste of taxpayers’ money, he said.
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