Interfax: Moscow dismisses findings of UK public inquiry into Litvinenko death – source

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MOSCOW. Jan 21 (Interfax) – Moscow dismisses the findings of the public inquiry conducted in the United Kingdom into the death of former Russian special services officer Alexander Litvinenko, a source with knowledge of the situation told Interfax on Thursday.

“Russia has every reason to declare that it will not accept any verdict handed down following this kind of inquiry,” he said.

“Against the background of the essentially secretive nature of these quasi-judicial proceedings, it is noteworthy that not only the media but also British officials have said publicly over the past several years with reference to classified documents possessed by special services and their conclusions that the Russian state and its representatives are implicated in Litvinenko’s death. At the same time, they absolutely ignored the fact that this case has become a major irritant in our bilateral relations, giving a pretext to Britain to impose visa restrictions on Russian officials, which still remain valid,” he said.

Under these circumstances, it would be natural to consider all evidence in hand in as open a format as possible, so that all parties concerned could analyze them in adversarial proceedings, he said.

“This could have been done within the framework of the suspended coroner’s inquest, in which it’s precisely the United Kingdom, referring to the state’s immunity and seeking to protect its national interests and not damage its relations with other countries, that has classified a significant part of materials provided by special services, in fact taking them beyond the framework of the coroner’s inquest,” he said.