Highly charged polonium

“I have today concluded that the evidence sent to us by the police is sufficient to charge Andrei Lugovoy with the murder of Mr. Litvinenko by deliberate poisoning,” [UK] Director of Public Prosecutions Ken Macdonald said, immediately setting off a diplomatic confrontation between London and Moscow.

This of course has gone over like the proverbial heavy-isotope balloon in Moscow, where authorities and lawyers have alternately blustered, denied, denigrated the British court system and pointed to the Russian constitution, which appears to make extradition a dead letter. Still, an EU-wide warrant is likely to follow, and Lugovoy’s travel prospects will surely be limited.

Foreign relations tests will come fast and furious in the early part of Gordon Brown’s term as prime minister…