Mr Putin is likely to have signed off the poisoning of Mr Litvinenko
with polonium-210 in part due to personal "antagonism" between the pair,
it said. Home Secretary Theresa May said his murder was a "blatant and
unacceptable" breach of international law. But the Russian Foreign
Ministry said the report had been "politicised". It said: "We regret
that the purely criminal case was politicised and overshadowed the
general atmosphere of bilateral relations." Mr Litvinenko’s widow Marina
welcomed the report, calling for sanctions to be imposed on Russia and a
travel ban on Mr Putin.
Mr Litvinenko died aged 43 in London in 2006, days after drinking tea
poisoned with the radioactive substance. The former Russian spy had fled
to Britain where he became a fierce critic of the Kremlin. The
long-awaited report into his death found two Russian men - Andrei
Lugovoi and Dmitry Kovtun - deliberately poisoned Mr Litvinenko. They
both deny killing him.
Sir Robert Owen, the inquiry chairman, said Mr Lugovoi and Mr Kovtun
were probably acting under the direction of Moscow’s FSB intelligence
service. Giving a statement to the House of Commons, Mrs May said the UK
would now impose asset freezes on Mr Lugovoi and Mr Kovtun.
International arrest warrants against the pair also remained in place,
she told MPs. Prime Minister David Cameron would also raise the findings
with President Putin at "the next available opportunity", Mrs May added.
A Downing Street spokeswoman said the report’s conclusions were
"extremely disturbing", saying: "It is not the way for any state, let
alone a permanent member of the UN Security Council, to behave."
Speaking earlier outside London’s High Court, Mrs Litvinenko said: "The
words my husband spoke on his deathbed when he accused Mr Putin have
been proved by an English court." She urged the UK government to expel
all Russian intelligence operatives and impose economic sanctions on