European judges have ruled that Russia was responsible for the 2006 death of ex-KGB officer Alexander Litvinenko who was killed with radioactive Polonium.
Alexander Litvinenko, a prominent critic of the Kremlin, died at age 43 after drinking green tea laced with Polonium 210 at the luxurious Millenium Hotel in Mayfair.
Britain has long blamed the attack on Russia, straining relationships between the two countries, and the European Court of Human Rights has now agreed.
A ruling issued from the Strasbourg court said that Russia was responsible for the killing of Alexander Litvinenko in the UK.
Judges also ruled that Andrei Lugovoi, an ex-KGB agent, and Dmitry Kovtun, who’d met with Alexander Litvinenko at the hotel, were the poisoners.
The court, which rules on whether states have breached the European Convention on Human Rights, were responding to a complaint brought by Marina Litvinenko, Alexander’s widow.
Marina Litvinenko had presented the complaint in November last year, claiming £3 million in punitive damages and lost wages over her husband’s demise.
She also asked the court to rule on a pattern of targeted assassinations in Europe and the Middle East, including the UK attack on Sergei Skripal and daughter Yulia, which have been blamed on Russia.
It wasn’t instantly clear whether the court would be ruling on those matters, or where the Litvinenko ruling leaves Marina Litvinenko’s compensation claim.
Marina Litvinenko had brought her claim before the ECHR once before, in 2007, when it was suspended because a public inquiry was underway in the United Kingdom.
At the time her legal team was being led by Kier Starmer, now Labour Party Leader.
Litvinenko was born in 1962 in the Soviet Union, in the city of Voronezh which is 290 miles south of Moscow.
After a brief stint as a platoon commander for the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Litvinenko was drafted into the KGB as a military counterintelligence officer.
He proceeded to work at the agency after it was transformed into the modern-day FSB and rose to the position of senior operational officer in a unit responsible for tackling organised crime. He also worked for a time as Boris Berezovsky’s bodyguard.
In 1998, Litvinenko fell out with FSB leadership when he backed Boris Berezovsky who’d accused senior FSB officers of ordering his assassination.
He was subsequently expelled from the organisation, arrested, and twice appeared in court on charges of overstepping his authority, but saw both proceedings quashed.
Fearing for his life, Alexander Litvinenko fled to London in 2000 with his second wife Marina and was given asylum in London, and he then went to Boston, Lincolnshire, where he worked as a journalist, author and consultant for British intelligence.
During this time he wrote two books accusing the Russian state of staging apartment bombings and other terror acts to bring Vladimir Putin to power. He also invented the phrase ‘mafia state.’
Of course, we all know that Russia won’t pay a single penny of compensation, so the court’s judgment is insignificant. And of course, they will have cast-iron evidence.
Deny everything is the Russian way. The world may prove it, the courts might find guilty, but Putin’s Russia will answer to no one – how does Vladimir Putin sleep at night, probably in a big bed on silk sheets!
And how much money has been wasted to find out precisely what was known when it happened? It’s not like Polonium’s available at your local pharmacy!
Although being responsible doesn’t mean they did it. It’s a bit like saying that Boris Johnson is responsible for killings in care homes disguised as COVID, and then a situation has been created.