“The situation in Russia is really hard and I want my people to have more freedom but under dictatorship it’s not possible”, she said, blaming Russian President Vladimir Putin for the death of Litvinenko through radiation poisoning.
Mr Litvinenko, who fled to Britain six years before his death in London in 2006, was also “liquidated” because of his criticism of the Russian leader, a lawyer for his widow said.
Kremlin critic Litvinenko, 43, died three weeks after drinking green tea laced with radioactive polonium-210 at London’s plush Millennium Hotel, shortly after obtaining British citizenship.
British police have accused two Russians, Dmitry Kovtun and Andrei Lugovoi, of carrying out the killing, sponsored by elements in the Kremlin. “Putin continues to stand shoulder to shoulder with his henchman and executioner”.
However, the Russian Embassy in London said it did not trust the public inquiry, which it claimed it had been “politicised”, and disregarded global law.
The inquiry has been told that traces of polonium were found across London where the two men had been including offices, hotels, planes and even Arsenal football club’s stadium.
POLONIUM TRAIL “If the Russian state is responsible, Putin is responsible”, Emmerson said.
“Not on some analogical version of vicarious liability but because he personally ordered the liquidation of an enemy who was bent on exposing him and his cronies”. Kovtun was due to give evidence to the inquiry via video link from Moscow this week but pulled out at the last minute.
“Lugovoi and Kovtun committed the murder and they did so at the behest of Mr. Putin and his cabal in Moscow”, Emmerson said.
“It was a crass and clumsy gesture from an increasingly isolated tin pot despot, a morally deranged authoritarian who was at that very moment clinging desperately onto political power in the face of worldwide sanctions and a rising chorus of global condemnation”, he said.
“My husband was killed by agents of the Russian state in the first ever act of nuclear terrorism on the streets of London and this could not have happened without the knowledge and consent of Mr Putin”, she told reporters.
The chairman of the inquiry, Robert Owen, said he expected to report his conclusions by the end of this year.
Emmerson said Kovtun, Lugovoy and the Russian state had attempted to manipulate and undermine the independent inquiry, most recently when Kovtun pulled out of giving evidence by videolink this week.