Russia's foreign minister warned Monday that continued suggestions of Kremlin involvement in the death of a former KGB agent in London could damage relations with Britain, which sent police to Moscow to expand the investigation into the poisoning.
Lawyers for an imprisoned security officer, Mikhail Trepashkin, said he has key evidence in the case. They appealed to the British officers to collect testimony from him as soon as possible, saying his life was in danger.
Alexander Litvinenko, 43, the former KGB agent, died Nov. 23 in London after ingesting the radioactive isotope polonium-210. In a deathbed accusation, he blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin for the poisoning. The Kremlin has vehemently denied the accusations.
Trepashkin, who is serving a four-year sentence for revealing state secrets, reportedly said in a letter from prison that he had warned Litvinenko several years ago about a government-sponsored death squad that intended to kill him and other Kremlin opponents.
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned Monday that continued suggestions of Russian official involvement in the death could damage diplomatic relations.
Lavrov said he had spoken with British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett "about the necessity to avoid any kind of politicization of this question."