WASHINGTON—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today responded to the United Kingdom’s inquiry linking Russian President Vladimir Putin to the murder of former FSB spy Alexander Litvinenko:

“The United Kingdom’s investigation into the death of Alexander Litvinenko found what many have long suspected: Vladimir Putin likely approved the assassination of one of his critics on British soil using radioactive poison.  Just a few years ago, Russia was shedding the legacy of totalitarianism and finding its place among the world’s leading democracies.  Now, with a collapsing economy and growing reputation as an international thug, Russia works to undermine the global consensus on rights and freedoms, while trampling the sovereignty of its neighbors.  

“Murderers and human rights abusers enjoy free reign under Putin’s authoritarian rule, so emboldened that they’ll even silence dissenters in the UK—a NATO ally and EU member. For the sake of Russia’s people and world peace, I hope that its leaders will see the wisdom in restoring the rule of law and returning to constructive international engagement.  But, in the immediate future, the murderers of Alexander Litvinenko and so many others must be brought to justice.”