UK Opens Inquiry in Death of Poisoned Ex-KGB Spy

Alexander Litvinenko's widow 'delighted;' more bad news for Russia
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 22, 2014 7:18 AM CDT
UK Opens Inquiry in Death of Poisoned Ex-KGB Spy
Alexander Litvinenko, former KGB spy, is seen photographed at his home in London in this May 10, 2002 file photo.   (AP Photo/Alistair Fuller)

The widow of former KGB spy Alexander Litvinenko has been pressing the UK government for nearly eight years to investigate his death. Today, Marina Litvinenko got her wish: Home Secretary Theresa May announced that London is opening an official inquiry into whether Russia was behind her husband’s fatal poisoning in 2006, reports the BBC. The family has long accused the Kremlin of ordering a hit on Litvinenko, who died three weeks after drinking tea laced with radioactive polonium with two Russian men in a London hotel. A government spokesman calls Litvinenko’s death "an appalling crime, and we want to see those responsible prosecuted."

With Russia currently under the microscope in the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17—and London apparently eager to implement sanctions on Russia—the timing of the government’s sudden change of heart appears to be more than coincidental. But Sky News cites a source who notes that Parliament is set to go on summer break today and that officials likely want to begin the process that was jump-started in February with a court ruling pushing for the inquiry. For her part, Marina Litvinenko tells the BBC she's "relieved and delighted," and says that "truth will win out in the end." (More Alexander Litvinenko stories.)

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