Litvinenko widow urges justice ahead of nuclear summit
The widow of Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko, who was poisoned with polonium in London in 2006, called Saturday for justice for his killers ahead of a global summit on nuclear security.
Marina Litvinenko said her husband’s death was an “act of nuclear terrorism” which she blames on agents of the Russian government, and urged participants of the talks starting in Seoul on Monday to raise the issue with Moscow.
US President Barack Obama is among those attending the summit, which is ostensibly about the threat from nuclear-armed terrorists but is likely to be dominated by the atomic ambitions of North Korea and Iran.
“The only act of nuclear terrorism in history was committed in November 2006 in London, when my husband was killed and thousands of Londoners were contaminated with radioactivity,” Marina Litvinenko said in a statement.
She said there was “ample evidence” that Russia was behind the murder but accused it of trying to hamper the investigation. She said Western leaders had appeased Moscow by refusing to identify the attack as a security issue.
“I call on the conference participants to raise the Litvinenko case with the representatives of Russia,” she said.
“Any agreement on nuclear safety would be an empty talk if one of the parties is allowed to literally get away with murder.”
British police have identified Russian lawmaker Andrei Lugovoi, a former FSB security agent, as the main suspect in their murder investigation, but Russia has refused to extradite him in a row that severely strained ties.
Litvinenko, 43, a spy turned exiled Kremlin critic, died in agony on November 23, 2006, just over three weeks after drinking tea reportedly laced with highly radioactive Polonium-210 at a top London hotel.