One of many males accused of assassinating Alexander Litvinenko in London has died of COVID-19.
Dmitry Kovtun, along with Andrei Lugovoy, is alleged to have carried out the 2006 killing on behalf of Russia’s Federal Safety Service (FSB).
Kovtun died in a Moscow hospital, the Russian TASS information company mentioned on Saturday.
Lugovoy, now a outstanding member of Russia’s parliament, mentioned he was mourning the loss of life of a “shut and trustworthy pal”, the company reported.
Mr Litvinenko, a British citizen, was a former KGB agent who went on to work for MI6 after fleeing to the UK.
He had additionally develop into an outspoken critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
He died an agonising loss of life after being poisoned in London after his tea was laced with Polonium 210, a uncommon and really potent radioactive isotope.
From his deathbed, he accused President Putin of ordering his killing, however the Kremlin has at all times denied any function.
A choose at a British inquiry into the case concluded in 2016 that the homicide was an operation of Russia’s FSB spy company that was in all probability accepted by its director on the time, Nikolai Patrushev, and by President Putin himself.
They inquiry additionally discovered that former KGB bodyguard Lugovoy and fellow Russian Kovtun carried out the killing.
British investigators discovered traces of polonium at websites throughout London the place the 2 males had been, together with in places of work, motels, planes and the Arsenal soccer stadium.
They denied finishing up the poisoning, and Russia refused to extradite them to face trial.
Tensions between Mr Litvinenko and President Putin dated again to their solely face-to-face assembly in 1998, when Mr Putin was head of the FSB and Mr Litvinenko was pushing for reforms of the intelligence service.
Learn extra: Alexander Litvinenko Murder – A Timeline
Mr Litvinenko’s loss of life led to worldwide outcry and additional strained relations between Moscow and the West.
Fingers had been once more pointed on the Kremlin over poisonings on British soil in 2018, when makes an attempt had been made to assassinate former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia with a novichok nerve agent .
Three Russian men have been charged over the Salisbury poisonings however British authorities haven’t but been capable of carry them to trial.