September 13, 2011
David Cameron was told last night Russia will ‘never’ hand over the prime suspect for the murder of Alexander Litvinenko.
The Prime Minister – making the first visit by a British leader to Moscow for six years – got short shrift from Russian president Dmitry Medvedev over the dissident’s murder in London and his calls for Russia to take steps to end corruption in its economy.
The two leaders were wreathed in smiles as they attempted to rebuild Anglo-Russian relations, which have been at their iciest since the end of the Cold War.
But there was an uncompromising message from the Kremlin over the case of Litvinenko, a British citizen who was poisoned with radioactive polonium-210 in London five years ago in what is alleged to have been a state-sponsored assassination.
Mr Medvedev made it clear Russia will never agree to extradite Andrei Lugovoy, the ex-KGB officer who is chief suspect in the murder, and now a member of the Russian parliament, for trial in Britain, insisting such a move would be unconstitutional.
‘That will never happen, no matter what the circumstances,’ he declared. To add insult to injury, Lugovoy himself suggested Litvinenko was involved in the illegal trade of nuclear material and had therefore been assassinated by the British secret services.