Russia accuses Britain of harbouring Kremlin critics

July 12th, 2008 - 1:14 pm ICT by ANI  

Gordon Brown

London, July 12 (ANI): Russia’’s Ambassador to London, Yury Fedotov, has criticised the Gordon Brown Government for giving refuge to known critics of the Kremlin, and blamed it for not doing enough to mend the current poor state of Anglo-Russian relations.
Speaking a day after a new espionage row put a further strain on diplomatic ties, The Telegraph quoted Ambassador Fedotov as saying that the British government’’s persistent refusal to extradite both Boris Berezovsky, the oligarch considered Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’’s greatest personal enemy, and Ahmed Zakayev, a Chechen rebel emissary, was not having a positive effect on Russian-British relations.
He claimed that at least 20 requests have been forwarded by Moscow to London to have these two Russian critics returned home
According to the paper, the Brown Government cannot extradite Berezovsky as a British court has granted the tycoon political asylum on grounds that he wont receive a fair trial in Russia, where he is wanted on charges ranging from fraud and embezzlement to incitement.
British diplomats say that Russia, a country where the judiciary is widely regarded as a tool of the state, cannot understand why Brown does not simply overrule the courts.
The ambassador’’s comment came a day after Russian intelligence accused a senior British diplomat in Moscow of being a spy.
By way of apparent evidence, it accused him of maintaining contacts with ruling party deputies, members of the opposition and human rights activists.
The diplomat was also accused of working as a spy in Uzbekistan in the 1990s, when he allegedly worked under the cover of being a BBC reporter.
The intelligence services suggested that the decision to expose the diplomat was in retaliation for recent British media reports quoting officials as saying that the Russian state was behind the murder of Alexander Litvinenko, the defector poisoned with Polonium-210 in London in 2006.
The decision to name the diplomat could also be in response to the meeting between Mr Brown and Dmitry Medvedev, the new Russian president, on the sidelines of the G-8 summit in Japan earlier this week.
The Kremlin reportedly felt that Brown’’s comments during the meeting were not in the spirit of the “compromise” that President Medvedev had demanded before it. (ANI)

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