Accessibility links

Breaking News

VOA English Newscast: 1900 UTC January 21, 2016

Marina Litvinenko widow of Alexander Litvinenko poses with a copy of The Litvinenko Inquiry Report with her son Anatoly (L) during a news conference in London, Britain, Jan. 21, 2016.
please wait

No media source currently available

0:00 0:02:00 0:00

From Washington, this is VOA News.

I’m Ira Mellman reporting.

A British murder investigation points a finger of accusation toward Vladimir Putin...

A top British government investigator says Russian President Vladimir Putin probably personally approved the assassination of (Alexander) Litvinenko, a Russian spy-turned-dissident who was exiled in Britain after criticizing Putin.

Robert Owen, a retired judge serving as the inquiry's chairman Thursday announced his year-long inquiry had confirmed the Russian state was responsible for the November 2006 poisoning of Litvinenko, carried out by two Russian agents at the Millennium Hotel in central London just a few meters from the U.S. Embassy.

VOA's London correspondent Louis Ramirez has more.

“The report says that president Vladimir Putin probably approved the assassination of Litvinenko, which happened in 2006 when he met with two Russian agents at a hotel in central London.

The allegation which is now conclusive, pretty much proven, by British investigators was that they laced his tea with a highly toxic radioactive substance known as radioactive polonium.

This resulted in contamination of the hotel and the contamination pretty much spread across the streets of London wherever Mr. Litvinenko was after that moment. He fell ill very quickly, died 23 days later.”

In Moscow, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zhakarova said "we regret that a purely criminal case has been politicized and has darkened the general atmosphere of bilateral relations.''

More on our website at This is VOA News.


Words in This Story

Assassination –n. the killing of a well-known person usually for political reasons

Allegation –n. a statement saying someone has done something wrong or illegal

Lace –v. to add a small amount of a powerful substance to something

Contamination –n. a substance that makes something or a place dirty, impure or toxic

Bilateral –adj. relating to two sides