Reuters- - A British government minister today condemned "murky murders" clouding President Vladimir Putin's Russia as media reports said police would go to Moscow and Rome to probe the radiation death of an ex-KGB spy.
Northern Ireland secretary Peter Hain was speaking three days after former Russian spy and Kremlin critic Alexander Litvinenko died in a London hospital having blamed his mysterious poisoning on Mr Putin.
The Russian president has dismissed the accusation.
Mr Hain, whose government has asked Moscow for any information that might help the British police inquiry, also criticised "huge attacks" on individual freedoms and democracy in Russia.
"The promise that President Putin brought to Russia when he came to power has been clouded by what has happened since, including some extremely murky murders," Mr Hain told BBC television.
"His success in binding a disintegrating nation together ... must be balanced against the fact that there have been huge attacks on individual liberty and on democracy and it's important that he retakes the democratic view," he added.
Health officials were still considering whether to conduct a post-mortem on the body of Litvinenko, a Russian dissident who became a British citizen last month, given the presence of a rare radioactive isotope in his body. Litvinenko died on Thursday after a three-week illness that saw his hair fall out, his body waste away and his organs fail.
In a statement read out after his death, he accused Mr Putin of what would be the Kremlin's first political assassination in the West since the Cold War. Putin said Litvinenko's death was being used for "political provocation". Last month, another high profile murder embarrassed Mr Putin on the international stage when campaigning journalist Anna Politkovskaya, one of his fierce critics, was shot dead in her Moscow apartment block on the president's birthday.
A British police spokesman declined to give details of the witness list drawn up by detectives in the Litvinenko investigation or where they planned to travel. Reports in British newspapers and television said senior counter-terrorism detectives wanted to question two Russians and an Italian professor who lunched with Litvinenko at the same Japanese restaurant in London two weeks apart and have since returned home.
A Saudi aggression fighter jet targeted a citizen's car driving in Fara area of Kutaf district in Saada province overnight, killing the driver and injuring his friend, a security official said on Monday.
Scores of Saudi enemy soldiers were killed and injured on Sunday when the army and popular forces repelled a Saudi military attempt to sneak into Shurfah site in the border province of Najran, a military official said.
The operation was accomplished successfully against the Saudi
Saudi aggression warplanes have launched more than 49 airstrikes over the past hours on several residential areas across Yemen, a security official said on Sunday.
The airstrikes targeted the areas of Malahiz and Husama in Dhahir district, and areas Thuban, Masahif and Sdad in Bakim district of northern Saada province.