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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Lugovoi Extradition Papers Delivered

Britain's ambassador on Monday handed documents to the Foreign Ministry requesting that Russia extradite former Federal Security Service officer Andrei Lugovoi, who has been charged with the murder of Alexander Litvinenko.

British Ambassador Anthony Brenton delivered documents to the Foreign Ministry on Monday morning requesting that Russia turn over Lugovoi for trial in a British court.

"The ball is now in the Russians' court," a British Embassy spokesman said on condition of anonymity, in line with embassy policy. "We look to them for a constructive response."

Foreign Ministry officials could not be reached Monday, but a Prosecutor General's Office spokeswoman confirmed that it had received the request. She declined to comment further.

It appears unlikely, however, that Russia -- outraged at Britain's reluctance to hand over self-exiled Kremlin foe Boris Berezovsky -- will renege on its promise not to extradite Lugovoi.

"Russian law, just like the law of many countries, forbids the extradition of its citizens to foreign states," Vladimir Vasilyev, chairman of the State Duma's Security Committee, said Monday, Itar-Tass reported.

Prosecutor General Yury Chaika suggested last week that Lugovoi could be tried in Russia given sufficient evidence of his involvement in Litvinenko's death. His British counterpart, General Lord Goldsmith, however, reiterated that Lugovoi should be tried in Britain.

Vasilyev suggested that if Lugovoi is tried in Russia, British prosecutors could stand as witnesses.

Litvinenko, a Kremlin critic who was granted asylum in Britain, died in a London hospital Nov. 23 after being poisoned with radioactive polonium-210.

He had met with Lugovoi and two other Russians, Dmitry Kovtun and Vyacheslav Sokolenko, on Nov. 1 at a London hotel hours before he fell ill.