London-Moscow Relations Frigid Over Spy Flap

Russia won't extradite accused assassin; Downing St. talks tough
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted May 23, 2007 6:38 AM CDT
'   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Relations between Russia and the UK have dipped to a post-Cold War nadir, the Times is reporting. The Kremlin refused yesterday to extradite Andrei Lugovoy, whom Britain has accused of murdering a former Russian spy in London last year. Investigators suspect that Moscow ordered the assassination of Alexander Litvinenko, an outspoken Yeltsin critic.

A Downing Street spokesman says Russia can't hide behind diplomatic prerogatives. "Murder is murder," he said. Russia, meanwhile, already peeved over Britain's asylum for exiled dissidents, may hit back by reneging on a deal with petrol giant BP. The Guardian quotes a Kremlin insider warning the crisis "will seriously damage the attitude of the Russian elite towards Britain and the West."