World Bulletin / News Desk
Britain appointed a senior judge on Thursday to conduct an inquest into the death of Alexander Litvinenko, the former Russian agent turned Kremlin critic whose murder in London in 2006, chilling relations between London and Moscow.
The judge, Robert Owen, will hold a preliminary hearing in September to decide how the inquest will be conducted and whether it will be heard before a jury, Britain's Judicial Office said.
Russia has refused to extradite Andrei Lugovoy, an ex-KGB bodyguard Britain wants to prosecute forLitvinenko's murder by poisoning with radioactive polonium.
The incident sent ties between the countries plunging to a post-Cold War low and led to tit-for-tat diplomatic expulsions.