At a remote village festival in Mordovia, Russian President Vladimir Putin has been showing the Finnish and Hungarian leaders the customs of the ethnic Finno-Ugric people. “A great culture, showing how people should cooperate in Europe” Putin said.
Meanwhile, about 600 kilometers west of there in Moscow, authorities were getting ready to expel four British diplomats and suspend mutual cooperation on fighting terrorism. But Putin appeared relaxed as he made his first remarks since London expelled four Russian diplomats on Monday: “I think relations between Russia and Britain will develop normally. It’s in the interests of both. One has to respect the rights and interests of both partners. I’m sure we’ll get through this mini-crisis”
A Washington spokesman echoed Britain’s call for Moscow to extradite the man it suspects of murdering ex-spy Alexandre Litvinenko: “We support the UK’s extradition request and believe strongly that the Russians should do the right thing here and respond to it favourably and comply with it.” Moscow refuses to turn over the suspect, Andrei Lugovoi, claiming it would not be allowed under the Russian constitution. It also claims Britain has refused to extradite people wanted for trial in Russia.