Accessibility links

2 Russian Figures in Poisoning Probe of Former Russian Spy to Consider Cooperating with London

Two key Russian figures in the investigation into the London poisoning death of former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko say they are considering going to Britain, if requested, to help police.

The London probe shows that Andrei Lugovoi and Dimitri Kovtun met with Litvinenko November 1, the day Litvinenko says he first fell ill. He died three weeks later from what forensic analysis showed was poisoning by the radioactive isotope polonium-210.

In a Russian satellite television interview broadcast abroad, Lugovoi Tuesday denied British media reports that he is a suspect in the murder. He said he remains a witness. For his part, Kovtun said he and Lugovoi would consider any British request for cooperation.

Russian police questioned Lugovoi and Kovtun last month in Moscow. Scotland Yard investigators witnessed those interrogations.

Both Lugovoi and Kovtun are former Russian intelligence agents, and both were hospitalized in Moscow for suspected radiation poisoning in December - just days after Litvinenko's death.

Litvinenko was a former agent in the Russian Security Service, but he became a Kremlin critic, fled to Britain in 2001, and was granted asylum. In a deathbed statement, he accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of involvement in his poisoning. Mr. Putin has denied involvement.