Just weeks before he was apparently poisoned – former Russian KGB colonel Alexander Litvnenko told journalists at the Frontline Club in London of his utter conviction that Russian President Vladimir Putin was responsible for the murder of campaigning journalist Anna Politkovskaya.
Politovskaya was shot dead last month outside her Moscow flat and had been on outspoken and high profile critic of Russian activities in Chechnya.
Litvnenko died yesterday – three weeks after he was apparently poisoned.
Last month he spoke at London journalists’ club – the Frontline – during a debate about the murder of Politkovskaya.
Through a translator he said: “I think because I am here I should really speak and tell you , I don’t want to hide anything, I am quite happy for media to cover this.
“Somebody has asked me directly who is guiltty of Anna’s death. Ican directly tell you it was Mr Putin the president of the Russian Federation who has killed her.
“I have been her friend for three years, and have very close links and ties to her.
“Every visit to London I met her and she visited me at home, she knew my wife my child.
“And she asked me about the Russian secret service, about their methods. After her book was published , her book Putin’s Russia, she had quite a number of threats which became more frequent, directly from the Kremlin. And do you know at one of our last meetings she asked me directly do you think they can kill me?
“And I told her quite frankly yes they can, and I really suggest you leave the country for a period.”
Litvnenko told journalists that Politovskaya had received threats from the Kremlin via an intermediary.
He said: “I am not trying to hide anything so I could be a witness in court, you could directly quote me.”
Litvnenko said he had taken information on another murder to the Russian authorities and they had arrested him, searched his flat and destroyed all the evidence.
He said: “I am totally confident that only one person in Russia can kill someone like Anna Politovskaya with her standing and her fame and that is Putin.
“I know that Special Service control the country entirely, a journalist of her level, of her standing could not be touched without the sanctions from above, from the president himself.”
He added: “As soon as the regime in Russia changes we will know the facts.”
The see the Frontline Club video click here.