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22 January 2016
What We Know: Key takeaways in case of poisoned spy
A British judge has concluded that two Russians, acting at the behest of
Moscow's security services and probably with approval from President Vladimir Putin, poisoned ex-KGB agent and fierce Kremlin critic Alexander Litvinenko. Here's what we know:
— Judge Robert Owen cited abundant evidence that Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitry Kovtun placed radioactive polonium-210 in Litvinenko's tea at a London hotel on Nov. 1, 2006. He died on Nov. 23.
— Owen concluded there is a "strong probability" the poisoning came under the direction of Russia's FSB spy agency, and that the operation was probably approved by then-FSB chief Nikolai Patrushev and by Putin.
— Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov denounced the inquiry as a "quasi-investigation" that would "further poison the atmosphere of our bilateral relations" with Britain.
— British Prime Minister David Cameron said the evidence in the report of a state-sponsored killing is "absolutely appalling," and Britain summoned the Russian ambassador for a dressing-down and imposed an asset freeze on Lugovoi and Kovtun.
— Interpol has issued notices calling for their arrest, although Russia refuses to extradite them. U.K.-Russian relations have been chilly, but the report comes as the countries are cautiously trying to work together against the Islamic State group in Syria, and neither wants a major new rift.