Thursday, July 26, 2007

Putin's Thugpolitik

UK demands 'colonial, insulting'

MOSCOW, Russia (Reuters) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday denounced Britain for making insulting demands that betrayed outdated colonial thinking, in comments likely to escalate a row over the murder of Alexander Litvinenko.

A stern -- at times seemingly angry -- Putin used highly forceful Russian to denounce Britain.

Britain and Russia have each expelled four diplomats in a spat over the murder and Moscow's refusal to extradite the chief suspect in the case.

"What they propose is an obvious vestige of colonial thinking," Putin was shown saying on Russian state television.

"They must have clearly forgotten that Britain is no longer a colonial power, there are no colonies left and, thank God, Russia has never been a British colony," Putin said.

Britain has demanded Moscow extradite Russian businessman Andrei Lugovoy so that he can be put on trial in London for Litvinenko's murder.

Russia has refused, citing its constitution, which forbids the extradition of Russian citizens.

"They should better change their brains than our constitution," Putin said at a meeting with youth organizations in Zavidovo, some 120 km (75 miles) northwest of Moscow.

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