Timeline: The case of poisoned ex-spy Alexander Litvinenko | Reuters.com
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Timeline: The case of poisoned ex-spy Alexander Litvinenko

As a British inquiry concludes that President Vladimir Putin 'probably' approved the 2006 murder of ex-KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko, we take a look back at the events surrounding the poisoning.

  • 21 January, 2016

    British judge Robert Owen cites several reasons why the Russian state would have wanted to kill Litvinenko, who was granted British citizenship a month before his death. 

    Owen says that Litvinenko was regarded as having betrayed Russia's Federal Security Service by accusing it of carrying out 1999 apartment block bombings that killed more than 200 people in Russia. The Kremlin, launching an offensive to restore control over the southern region of Chechnya, blamed this on Chechens.



    A copy of The Litvinenko Inquiry Report is seen during a news conference in London, Britain, January 21, 2016. REUTERS/Toby Melville

  • 21 January, 2016

    The inquiry, led by senior British judge Robert Owen, finds that Andrei Lugovoy and Dmitry Kovtun, carried out the killing as part of an operation probably directed by Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB), the main heir to the Soviet-era KGB.


    Marina Litvinenko, widow of murdered ex-KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko, reads a statement outside of the Royal Courts of Justice in London, Britain, January 21, 2016. REUTERS/Toby Melville 

  • January 21, 2016

    A British inquiry concludes that President Vladimir Putin probably approved a 2006 Russian intelligence operation to murder Litvinenko. The Kremlin, which has always denied any involvement and which had declined to cooperate in the inquiry, cautioned pointedly that this could "poison" relations. 

    Litvinenko's widow, Marina, called for Russian sanctions and travel bans against individuals including Putin. Read more here.


    Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting of the Presidential Council for Science and Education at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, January 21, 2016. REUTERS/Aleksey Nikolskyi/Sputnik/Kremlin  

  • July 16, 2007

    Britain says it will expel four Russian diplomats and suspend negotiations on facilitating the issue of visas. Russia calls the decision "immoral". Litvinenko's death marks a post-Cold War low point in Anglo-Russian ties.


    British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Russian President Vladimir Putin and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso (L-R) stand together before a working meeting in Heiligendamm June 7, 2007.  
  • July 5, 2007

    Russia officially turns down Britain's request to extradite Lugovoy. 


    Andrei Lugovoy gestures during a news conference in Moscow May 31, 2007.  REUTERS/Denis Sinyakov 
  • May 31, 2007

    Lugovoy denies involvement in the murder at a news conference, saying that British intelligence and self-exiled Russian multimillionaire Boris Berezovsky are more likely suspects.


    Russian ex-KGB agent Andrei Lugovoy (L) and millionaire Boris Berezovsky pose for a picture in the southern Russian winter holiday resort of Dombay, in the Caucasus mountains in this December 1998 file picture. REUTERS/Vasily Djachkov/Files 


  • May 22, 2007

    British prosecutors name Andrei Lugovoy, a businessman who formerly worked for the Soviet KGB, as the man who murdered Litvinenko with radioactive polonium. Britain makes a formal request to Moscow for Lugovoy's extradition.


    Former Kremlin bodyguard Andrei Lugovoy listens to a question during an interview at Moscow's Ekho Moskvy (Moscow Echo) radio station, February 23, 2007. REUTERS/Denis Sinyakov  
    by elizabeth.culliford edited by jamillah.knowles 1/21/2016 5:50:24 PM
  • February 1, 2007

    President Putin says that Litvinenko knew no official secrets and had no reason to leave Russia.


    Russian President Vladimir Putin stands in front of a map of the Russian Federation during a meeting at the presidential residence in Novo-Ogaryovo outside Moscow January 10, 2007. REUTERS/ITAR-TASS/PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SERVICE

  • December 7, 2007

    Russian prosecutors launch their own murder investigation. Prosecutors also open a criminal case into what they say was the attempted murder of Kovtun.


    Russian businessman Andrei Lugovoy (L) and his business partner Dmitry Kovtun speak during an interview on Ekho Moskvy radio in Moscow November 24, 2006. REUTERS/Mikhail Antonov/Reuters TV   

  • December 4, 2006

    British police fly to Moscow, and two days later, say they are now treating Litvinenko's death as murder. UK officers and investigators from the Russian prosecutor-general's office question former KGB contact Kovtun in the same hospital where Lugovoy is treated for about a month, apparently for radiation poisoning.




    British officials leave the chief prosecutor's office in Moscow December 8, 2006. REUTERS/Thomas Peter 



    by elizabeth.culliford edited by jamillah.knowles 1/21/2016 5:37:23 PM
  • November 28, 2006

    British Prime Minister Tony Blair promises that "no diplomatic or political barrier" will be allowed to hamper the investigation into Litvinenko's death.


    Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair speaks at a news conference in November 2006. REUTERS/Toby Melville 


  • December 1, 2006

    Pathologists carry out a post mortem on Litvinenko's body. Meanwhile, Mario Scaramella, an Italian KGB expert who met with Litvinenko on the day he was poisoned, is admitted to hospital in London for a few days. Traces of polonium-210 are also found in the urine of Litvinenko's widow Marina.  




    Italian defence analyst Mario Scaramella speaks to reporters during a press conference in Rome in this November 21, 2006 file photo.  REUTERS/Tony Gentile

  • 24 November, 2006

    Radiation is found at the sushi restaurant where Litvinenko met Mario Scaramella on the day that he was poisoned. 

    Traces of the highly radioactive substance were left across London including at offices, hotels, planes and Arsenal soccer club's Emirates Stadium. High polonium contamination was found in the teapot and the bar of the Millennium Hotel.



    Police stand guard outside the Itsu restaurant in the Piccadilly area of central London, November 29, 2006.  REUTERS/Alessia Pierdomenico  


  • November 24, 2006

    Litvinenko accuses Russian President Vladimir Putin of his murder according to a statement read out by friends the morning after his death. Putin brushes off the accusation.


    Russian President Vladimir Putin, pictured in the presidential residence in Novo-Ogaryovo outside Moscow January 4, 2006. REUTERS/Mikhail Metzel

    by elizabeth.culliford edited by jamillah.knowles 1/21/2016 5:17:32 PM
  • November 23, 2006 

    Litvinenko dies of radiation poisoning, with traces of polonium-210 found in his system. 


    The grave of murdered ex-KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko is seen at Highgate Cemetery in London, Britain, January 21, 2016. REUTERS/Toby Melville 


    by elizabeth.culliford edited by jamillah.knowles 1/21/2016 5:08:00 PM
  • November 1, 2006

    Alexander Litvinenko complains of feeling unwell after a day spent with contacts.
     He had seen former KGB contacts Andrei Lugovoy and Dmitry Kovtun at the Millennium Hotel in London's Grosvenor Square, where he said he drank 
    three or four mouthfuls of cold green tea made with lemon and honey. 


    Alexander Litvinenko, then an officer of Russia's state security service FSB, attends a news conference in Moscow in this November 17, 1998 picture. REUTERS/Vasily Djachkov/Files  

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