Russia is investigating the attempted murder of a contact of the former KGB agent, Alexander Litvinenko, who died in London last month.
Dmitry Kovtun met Mr Litvinenko hours before he fell ill from the radioactive poison that eventually killed him.
Reports that Mr Kovtun is in a critical condition have sparked speculation he too may have been poisoned. A lawyer linked to him denies he is unwell.
The Russian investigation is being run parallel to a British murder inquiry.
The UK’s minister for communities and local government, Ruth Kelly, said on the BBC’s Question Time programme on Thursday that she expects Russia “to co-operate fully” with the British investigation.
A funeral service for Mr Litvinenko was held at a central London mosque on Thursday.
The former spy, a vocal critic of the Kremlin, had issued a statement on his deathbed accusing Russian President Vladimir Putin of ordering his poisoning.
Charles Krauthammer: That Murder in London
The poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko, renegade Russian spy and fierce critic of Vladimir Putin’s government, is everywhere being called a mystery. There is dark speculation about unnamed “rogue elements” either in the Russian secret services or among ultranationalists acting independently of the government. There are whispers about the indeterminacy of things in the shadowy netherworld of Russian exile politics, crime and espionage.
Well, you can believe in indeterminacy. Or you can believe the testimony delivered on the only reliable lie detector ever invented — the deathbed — by the victim himself. Litvinenko directly accused Putin of killing him.
Putin and his agents did it.
Old Cold Warriors NEVER die……..
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