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Inquest lawyer says Russian state responsible in death of spy killed by radiation poisoning

A lawyer has told a British inquest into the poisoning death of former Russian agent Alexander Litvinenko that an initial assessment of evidence showed that the Russian state was responsible for his murder. 

Hugh Davies, the inquest's counsel, told a London hearing that a "high-level assessment" of material provided by the British government "does establish a case for the Russian state's culpability" in the murder of Litvinenko, who died in November 2006 after drinking tea laced with the rare radioactive isotope polonium-210 at a London hotel.  

The family of the former security officer, a critic of the Kremlin, has long argued that the Kremlin was behind his death. 

Davies spoke Thursday at a hearing aimed at setting out the scope of a public inquest probing the circumstances of Litvinenko's murder.