Russia awaits British explanation on spy murder claim - ambassador
Moscow is awaiting an explanation from Britain on media allegations that Russia's secret service had a role in the London killing of ex-agent Alexander Litvinenko, the Russian ambassador to London said Wednesday, the AFP reported.
"I believe that we have a right to demand explanations from British authorities," Yuri Fedotov told the Ria-Novosti news agency.
On Monday the BBC quoted a senior British security official as saying there were "very strong indications" that Litvinenko's 2006 murder was linked to the Russian state -- the first time, the BBC said, that a senior official had publicly made such a link.The comments came after Prime Minister Gordon Brown met Russia's new president, Dmitry Medvedev, at the Group of Eight (G8) summit in Japan.
While the two smiled in front of the cameras as they met in Japan, Britain's Foreign Office had pledged to Litvinenko's widow Marina that Brown would raise the subject of her husband's death with Medvedev.
Fedotov said the British Foreign Office or the Brown's office should break their silence on the allegations.
"They should either deny these wild imaginings or confirm them," he said. "If they are confirmed, we will draw our own conclusions about the alignments in the priorities in our bilateral relations."
Anglo-Russian relations soured dramatically after Litvinenko, a former KGB agent turned dissident, died in a London hospital in November 2006 due to extreme radiation poisoning.
Russia refuses to extradite the only suspect in the case, former KGB agent Andrei Lugovoi, pointing out that the Russian constitution forbids extradition of Russian citizens.
Britain has suspended cooperation with Russia's FSB secret service, successor to the KGB, in the wake of the affair.