The man wanted by Britain for the murder of former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko says British secret services are trying to destabilise Russia.
Former KGB officer Andrei Lugovoy, speaking exactly a year after meeting Litvinenko on the day he fell ill, said he had been caught in a web of intrigue that senior figures in Britain were using to damage Russia.
"For the past 15 years in particular, they have been doing everything they can to abase Russia and discredit her on the world stage," Lugovoy told reporters on Thursday.
Lugovoy met Litvinenko at a London hotel on November 1 last year with another Russian, Dmitry Kovtun. Later that day, Litvinenko complained of feeling ill. He was admitted to hospital and died on November 23 from polonium 210 poisoning.
In a posthumous letter, Litvinenko accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of being responsible for his death, a charge the Kremlin has repeatedly dismissed as nonsense.
Litvinenko's wife, Marina, said Lugovoy should be brought to justice for killing her husband.
"I will not speak about Sasha today, this is not his day. This is the day of his killers," she said in a statement.
"The President of Russia, who has been named by Sasha as the instigator of his murder, is obstructing the investigation and backing the suspect with the full clout of Russia's statehood." ( Reuters )