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UK Intelligence Services behind Litvinenko poisoning, believes FSS

Written by: Staff
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London, Dec 5 (UNI) Russia's Federal Security Service (FSS) believe that the poisoning of former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko was authorised by the Intelligence services in Britain.

According to a report in The Times, security sources said the FSB orchestrated a ''highly sophisticated plot'' and was likely to have used some of its former agents to carry out the operation on the streets of London.

''We know how the FSB operates abroad and, based on the circumstances behind the death of Mr Litvinenko, the FSB has to be the prime suspect,'' a source has been quoted as saying.

Reportedly, the involvement of a former FSB officer made it easier to lure Litvinenko to meet at various locations and thereby helped to distance its bosses in Kremlin from being directly implicated in the plot.

Moreover, Intelligence officials said only FSB agents would have been able to obtain sufficient amounts of Polonium-210, the substance used to kill Litvinenko.

MI5 and MI6 are working closely with Scotland Yard on the investigations. A senior police source told The Times that the method used to kill the 43-year-old dissident was intended to send a message to his friends and allies.

He said, ''The sheer organisation involved could only have been managed by professionals adept at operating internationally.'' Meanwhile, nine Scotland Yard detectives are now in Moscow, to question a number of well-connected businessmen, despite a warning yesterday from Sergei Lavrov, the Russian Foreign Minister, that speculation over the poisoning is straining relations between the two nations.

But British ministers insist that diplomatic sensitivities would not be allowed to obstruct the scope of the investigation.

British Home Secretary John Reid, who was also present in Brussels briefing on the Litvinenko affair said ''The police will follow the evidence wherever it goes.'' However, the British investigating team was willing t to question Andrei Lugovoy, a former FSB agent, who apparently made three visits to London in the fortnight before Litvinenko fell ill'.

Mr Lugovoy, in this regard, told The Times that he and two other business associates, Dmitri Kovtun and Vyacheslav Sokolenko, were ready to meet the British detectives.

Meanwhile, Intelligence officials believe that a sizeable team was sent from Moscow to smuggle radioactive Polonium-210 into Britain in order to shadow Mr Litvinenko.

UNI XC SSC HS1813

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