Page last updated at 15:06 GMT, Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Lugovoi drops out of mayoral race

Andrei Lugovoi speaks in Moscow on 2 December 2008
Andrei Lugovoi is an MP in the Russian parliament

Andrei Lugovoi, the prime suspect in the murder of Kremlin critic Alexander Litvinenko, has dropped plans to run for mayor in the Russian city of Sochi.

Mr Lugovoi said he and his party, the nationalist Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, had decided he should remain an MP in the Russian parliament instead.

British police want to question him about Litvinenko's death by radioactive poisoning in London in November 2006.

Moscow has said Russia's constitution bars any extradition.

It has asserted that Mr Lugovoi was framed by the British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), also known as MI6.

Senior British officials told the BBC last year that they believed the murder was carried out with the backing of the Russian state.

On Monday, Boris Nemtsov, a prominent Kremlin critic also running for mayor of Sochi, said that assailants had squirted ammonia in his face.

Mr Nemtsov apparently suffered no lasting harm from the alleged attack.

Sochi, the Black Sea resort city due to host the 2014 Winter Olympics, elects its mayor on 26 April.

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