ALEXANDER Litvinenko's widow has accused the West of doing too little too late to make Vladimir Putin pay for his crimes.
Marina's husband was a former director of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) – and he became one of Putin's most prominent critics before being fatally poisoned in November 2006 in London.
Speaking to The Sun Online, Alexander's widow Marina Litvinenko explained her hopes that Putin will finally be convicted for ordering her husband's murder and accused the West of not doing enough to stop Russia's war in Ukraine.
"Before he died, my husband said in an article, if you don't stop Putin, he might start a nuclear war," Marina said.
"He said if you don't stop these people, it could lead to a third world war.
"He believed Putin would be stopped, but here we are, 16 years later."
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She also said that Alexander had predicted Putin would behave in such an irrational way – with questions now being asked about the mad tyrant's apparently ailing physical and mental health.
"In the late 1990s, he [Alexander] tried to get ordinary Russians to pay attention to the attempts of the FSB to take over the country," she said.
"The Soviet secret service, the KGB, was never destroyed. Former officers like Putin took control of Russian companies, of politics, of finance.
"Politics became more like the security service."
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Marina said she hopes that the increased scrutiny on Putin's regime amid the horrific war in Ukraine and his cronies would lead to further evidence being released about her husband's death.
"I hope we will find out who killed my husband," she said.
In September last year, the European Court of Human Rights formally found Russia responsible for Litvinenko's death.
The 44-year-old former Russian spy was killed in London, dying an agonising death three weeks after radioactive polonium-210 was slipped in his cup of tea.
I hope we will find out who killed my husband
He had fled to Britain after criticising President Putin, and after his death, it was revealed he had been paid by MI6.
His murder was suspected to have been personally signed off by Putin, something the Kremlin has always denied.
Two of his cronies, Dmitri Kovtun and Andrei Lugovoi, have been accused of carrying out the hit.
The pair, who both face US sanctions, are wanted in the UK for Litvinenko's murder.
And Marina warned that Putin was not the only dangerous figure in the Kremlin – with plenty other potentially horrifying tyrants ready to take over.
One figure she described as "dramatically worse" than Putin is Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of the Russian Security Council and former director of the FSB.
She described Putin as a "crazy person", and said Patrushev could be lining himself up either as his successor or as his temporary stand-in if the Russian dictator is forced to take time away for treatment.
Marina accused Patrushev of being behind a series of apartment bombings in Russia, blamed on Chechen terrorists, which were used by Putin to bolster his own power in 1999.
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She warned that an uprising in Russia was unlikely, but called on the country to be further isolated.
"It makes me sad as a Russian to lose my country again," she said.
"But you have to isolate it. Russian people are supporting this."
Addressing her countrymen and women, she said: "You need to think about how to save yourself and your country."
In the wake of Putin's invasion of Ukraine, the EU, UK, and US as well as others slapped many powerful Russian individuals and companies with sanctions.
Marina said the sanctions were "extraordinary," but added: "Unfortunately, it is too late."
She claimed her birth country should have been sanctioned far earlier, comparing the move to issue sanctions following Ukraine's invasion as "like giving medicine to a person who has died already".
It comes as one of Litvinenko's alleged poisoners died suddenly aged just 56.
Dmitry Kovtun's cause of death was given as Covid, but there was speculation he may have accidentally poisoned himself with polonium-210 when he spiked Litvinenko's tea.
Fellow ex-FSB operative Andrei Lugovoy — also accused of Litvinenko’s killing — confirmed Kovtun’s death in Moscow.
Lugovoy, 55, now an ultranationalist Russian MP, said: "We have the sad news that my close and loyal friend Dmitry Kovtun passed away suddenly as a result of a serious illness linked to a coronavirus infection.
"Sleep well, dear friend! We will never forget you."
Russian news agency Tass also confirmed the death.
The pair always denied involvement in poising Litvinenko, who died aged 43, but Britain alleged the assassination was ordered by Putin or his circle.
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A trail of the radioactive agent on plane seats led back to Moscow and to Germany — where Kovtun was based at the time.
Both men were subject to sanctions but Russia always refused to allow their extradition for trial in Britain.
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