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‘License to kill’ instruction given to Russian agents

A hearing is due to be held next week to determine whether a full inquest is necessary to further investigate the killing of the former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko.  He was poisoned by a major dose of radioactive polonium 210 and died in hospital back in November 2006.  It seems highly likely that this particular substance was used because it is very hard to detect when ingested.

A former FSB bodyguard called Andrei Lugovoi is prime suspect for this killing.   In UK a call was made for his extradition but Russia refused and instead gave him a seat in the Duma, Russia’s lower parliament.  He still to this day pleads his innocence.

The reason for the hearing is a recent leaked document with a clear directive to authorize FSB’s to kill ‘terrorists’ is said to be in the hands of Scotland Yard’s investigating counter terrorism team.  The document in question is dated 19th March 2003, interestingly just four years prior to the killing of Litvinenko.

Clear instructions with regard to intended targets are said to say ‘observation, identification, possible return’ to the Russian Federation.  It also allows for elimination upon special directives.  It is signed and stamped by the Col General Nechaev who is the first deputy head of the FSB counter intelligence team.

Two of Britain’s wealthiest oligarchs Roman Abramovich and Boris Berezovsky are currently battling in London’s High Court.  The case concerns allegations about Kremlin intrigue and protection rackets worth £3.5bn.

The pair has avoided each other for the last ten years after they fell out over the alleged incident.  They sat at opposite ends of the courtroom in London, surrounded by their bodyguards and highly paid lawyers.

Boris Berezovsky was the subject of assassination plot in 2007.  The Russians have more recently plotted assassinations against key Chechens in the Middle East and Vienna.  The most recent being last week when a Chechen rebel leader and his bodyguards were shot dead in a bustling market in Istanbul.

Litvinenko accused the then president Vladimir Putin of instructing his murder of which the Kremlin denied any involvement.  Interestingly David Cameron is due to visit Moscow next week and is expected to be the first British leader to meet Vladimir Putin since that particular claim came to light.

The death of Litvinenko was said to have caused the biggest fallout between Britain and Russia since the Cold War between 1946-1991.