President Vladimir Putin "probably" personally approved a plot by Russia's FSB security service to murder ex-agent Alexander Litvinenko, a British judge said Thursday, NBC News reported.
After a six-month public inquiry, judge Robert Owen said that he is certain Litvinenko was given tea laced with a fatal dose of polonium-210 at a London hotel in November 2006. The one-time KGB agent who fled to Britain in 2000 and became a vocal critic of Putin had predicted that Russia would assassinate him and accused Putin on his deathbed of ordering his killing.
Litvinenko's body was so radioactive that the autopsy was conducted by medics in protective clothing and he was laid to rest in a lead-lined casket.
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Two Russians, Andrei Lugovoi, and Dmitry Kovtun, were previously identified by British prosecutors as having carried out the killing. Both deny it, and Moscow refuses to extradite them. British Home Secretary Theresa May announced asset freezes on the two men.