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Litvinenko case worsening UK-Russia ties-Lavrov

Written by: Staff

MOSCOW, Dec 4 (Reuters) Russia's foreign minister acknowledged today that the poisoning death of former KGB spy Alexander Litvinenko was worsening relations with Britain.

''To blow out of proportion the situation involving officials is unacceptable. It is of course damaging our relations,'' the minister, Sergei Lavrov, told reporters on a trip to Brussels.

Lavrov, quoted by Interfax news agency, said both Russia and Britain shared the opinion that Litvinenko's death should not be politicised.

''If there are any questions, they should be made through law enforcement agencies,'' Interfax quoted him as saying, adding that Britain had yet to pose specific questions.

Earlier, police in London said nine detectives might travel to Russia as early as today as part of their investigation into the death of Litvinenko who died of radiation poisoning from polonium 210.

Before he died last month, Litvinenko accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of ordering his slow and agonising death, which sparked a health scare in Britain and strained London's relations with Moscow.

The Kremlin has denied any part in the death of the former Russian state security service agent who became one of Putin's sharpest critics in the London-based Russian emigre community.

Reuters SSC VV1947

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