Former KGB spy accused in poisoning death

first_img 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! LONDON – Prosecutors accused a former KGB agent Tuesday of murder in the radioactive poisoning of fellow ex-operative Alexander Litvinenko and sought his extradition from Russia. The case is sure to challenge already-tense relations between London and Moscow. Andrei Lugovoi had met with Litvinenko at a London hotel hours before the former agent turned Kremlin critic fell ill with polonium-210 poisoning. Lugovoi has repeatedly denied any involvement in interviews with the police and media, and he reiterated that position Tuesday. “I consider that this decision to be political, I did not kill Litvinenko, I have no relation to his death and I can only express well-founded distrust for the so-called basis of proof collected by British judicial officials,” Lugovoi was quoted as saying by RIA-Novosti and other agencies. A top deputy to Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett summoned the Russian ambassador to seek Moscow’s cooperation in the case, but the Russian prosecutor-general’s office said it will not hand over Lugovoi to British authorities. “In accordance with Russian law, citizens of Russia cannot be turned over to foreign states,” spokeswoman Marina Gridneva said. However, it’s possible to be tried in Russia if evidence was handed over to authorities there, she said. Litvinenko, 43, died Nov. 23 after three agonizing weeks after he ingested a rare radioactive isotope.last_img