Alexander Litvinenko's family blames Vladimir Putin amid inquiry

A public inquiry in London into the 2006 killing of Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko is unearthing new details about his polonium poisoning death, which many believe President Vladmir Putin orchestrated. The CBC's Terence McKenna speaks with Litvinenko's widow and son.

British inquiry examines polonium poisoning of Russian dissident

New details revealed about the poisoning of Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko

8 years ago
Duration 19:13
Terence McKenna meets the widow and the son of a poisoned Russian dissident, as new details emerge about his death.

A public inquiry in London into the 2006 killing of Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko is unearthing new details about his polonium poisoning death, which many believe President Vladmir Putin orchestrated.

Litvinenko suffered for 23 days in hospital before succumbing to the radioactive poison. At the hospital, he told police he suspected only one Russian official could have given an order to kill the citizen of another country on its territory.

"That person is the president of the Russian Federation: Vladmir Putin," he said, according to a police interview transcript recently released at the inquiry.

His widow and son share that sentiment. His wife, Marina Litvinenko, says Putin and the Russian government are responsible for his death.

The couple's son rejects the idea that junior Russian officials could have orchestrated the killing without Putin's approval, especially considering the cost involved in the operation.

Putin has denied any involvement in Litvinenko's death.

But Litvinenko's widow and son believe the scientific evidence being presented at the inquiry is dismantling the Russian government's theories about who else could have been involved in his death.

The bulk of the testimony has already wrapped up, including from experts who tracked the polonium back to Russia, but there's more evidence to come in the summer.

Click on the video at the top of this story to watch the report by the CBC's Terence McKenna.