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Litvinenko murder suspect Lugovoy calls UK inquiry accusations 'absurd'

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MOSCOW (Reuters) - Andrei Lugovoy, one of two Russians named on Thursday by a judge led-British inquiry as the killers of Kremlin critic Alexander Litvinenko, said the accusations against him were “absurd”, the Interfax news agency quoted him as saying.

The inquiry into the 2006 killing in London concluded that President Vladimir Putin probably approved a Russian intelligence operation to murder ex-KGB agent Litvinenko.

It said his poisoners were former KGB bodyguard turned lawmaker Lugovoy and fellow Russian Dmitry Kovtun.

Lugovoy, who represents the ultra-nationalist Liberal Democratic Party of Russia in the Russian parliament, called the British inquiry “a pathetic attempt by London to use a skeleton in the closet for the sake of its political ambitions”.

He said the findings of the inquiry published on Thursday continued Britain’s “anti-Russian hysteria” which he said began after “the events in Ukraine in 2014”.

“The accusations brought against me are absurd,” he said.

“As we expected, there was no sensation. The results of the inquiry published today are yet more proof of London’s anti-Russian stance, its blinkered thinking and ... unwillingness to establish the true cause of Litvinenko’s death.”

Litvinenko, 43, an outspoken critic of Putin who fled Russia six years before his murder, died after drinking green tea laced with the rare radioactive isotope polonium-210 at a London hotel.

Reporting by Jack Stubbs; Writing by Dmitry Solovyov; Editing by Andrew Osborn