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Russia ready to cooperate with Britain on Litvinenko case - FSB

RIA Novosti

18/05/2008 16:03 MOSCOW, May 18 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) said on Sunday it was prepared to cooperate with Britain in investigating the case of poisoned defector Alexander Litvinenko after London lifted its unfounded accusations.

Former Russian security service officer Litvinenko died of radioactive poisoning in London in November 2006. London accused Russia's security services of their complicity in Litvinenko's death.

"We are ready for cooperation and interaction with them [British security services] but the first step should be made by Britain. We expect them to apologize for unfounded accusations as we are absolutely uninvolved in what they accuse us," Viktor Komogorov, head of the FSB operative information and international relations service said.

A large amount of radioactive polonium-210 was found in the Russian security service defector's body, but the British authorities have not yet made public any official document specifying the exact cause of his death or the results of the autopsy.

Litvinenko was fired from the FSB (formerly the KGB) following a 1998 press conference in which he and a number of other FSB officers alleged that they had been ordered to murder and kidnap a number of high-profile figures.

London has requested the extradition of its chief suspect in the Litvinenko case, Russian businessman and MP Andrei Lugovoi. Moscow has refused to extradite the former Kremlin security guard, saying its Constitution does not permit this.

Lugovoi, who met with Litvinenko in London before the ex-FSB officer fell ill, denies any involvement and says Litvinenko tried to recruit him for the British Intelligence Service (MI6).

The dispute has led to a dramatic deterioration in relations between London and Moscow, including tit-for-tat expulsions of diplomats and the closure of two British Council offices in Russia.

Litvinenko received British citizenship in 2006 and published two books in the U.K. alleging the involvement of the Russian security services in a series of apartment bombings in Russia in 1999.

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