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Washington Post on Putin’s Protection of Suspects

Today in the Wasington Post:

Given the seriousness of the crime, a vigorous prosecution of the Russians might be expected. Only, they have a powerful protector: Mr. Putin’s own government, which, while denying any culpability in Mr. Litvinenko’s killing, is nevertheless blocking British access to Mr. Lugovoy and Mr. Kovtun. During a visit to Moscow in December, British detectives were not allowed to directly question the two men, who were then staying in hospitals. Russian officials then opened their own “investigation” and drew up a long list of Putin enemies in London — from Chechen rebels to former executives of the Yukos oil company. No evidence connects anyone on the Russian list to the murder, but Moscow is saying it will not allow Scotland Yard access to the real suspects unless it can interrogate its targets in Britain. There’s no proof yet that Mr. Putin ordered or approved the London dirty bomb, but the questions for him keep multiplying: Why, if the Russian authorities are innocent, do they deny access to Mr. Lugovoy and Mr. Kovtun? Why do they continue to blame enemies of Mr. Putin without offering any evidence? What explains the leakage of a dangerous quantity of polonium, which is produced and held almost exclusively in Russia? And why, as a Polish newspaper documented last week, were pictures of Mr. Litvinenko being employed for target practice last November at a training center used by elite Russian special forces? The director of the center, a founder of a special operations unit, was accused by Mr. Litvinenko of being a KGB agent whose facility prepared contract killers. Mr. Putin is holding his annual international news conference tomorrow; we hope he’ll be prompted for some answers.

Full article here.