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April 21, 2007

KGB Men To Be Charged In Litvenenko Poisoning

I had wondered if Russia's mandating that 50% of all broadcast news be "positive" towards the government, and that the news should portray America as an enemy, heralded anything about the Litvenenko murders.

Not sure if it they're related, but it does seem that Russia has gone towards the point of no return in a new Cold War.

Scotland Yard detectives are to issue arrest warrants against three former KGB officers suspected of poisoning ex-Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko.

Police have told sources close to Mr Litvinenko's widow Marina that they intend to lay charges of murder and poisoning against the men, who met the victim three weeks before his death in London.

The move will damage the already strained relationship between Downing Street and the Kremlin, which is almost certain to block any request for the men's arrest and extradition.
Warrants are expected to be issued against Andrei Lugovoy, Dmitri Kovtun and Vyacheslav Sokolenko within the next few weeks.

All three former agents have vehemently protested their innocence of any involvement in the murder plot. They all claim that they, too, were contaminated with the deadly radioactive material polonium-210 which poisoned Mr Litvinenko, a strong critic of President Vladimir Putin's regime.

Mr Putin's government is already furious with Tony Blair for granting political asylum to billionaire dissident Boris Berezovsky, who has continued to demand the overthrow of the Russian leader from his UK base.

Tensions increased further on Friday when EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson warned that relations with Moscow contained 'a level of misunderstanding, or even mistrust, we have not seen since the end of the Cold War'.
...

Britain has no extradition treaty with Russia, meaning that any trial would most probably have to be held in Moscow with the co-operation of the authorities there.

The Russians want Mr Berezovsky to face trial for calling last week for a revolution to overthrow President Putin and have twice demanded his extradition from Britain.



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posted by Ace at 09:56 PM

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