Despite the signing of a 250-million-euro trade deal between Russia and the UK on Monday, the two countries are still no closer to solving a 5-year-old diplomatic crisis that has strained relations.
Russia has, until now, refused to extradite Andrei Lugovoy, the chief suspect in the murder of former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko.
An outspoken critic of the Russian government, Litvinenko was poisoned with the radioactive Polonium-210 isotope at a London hotel in 2006. Investigators believe the chemical was dropped into his tea. He died a slow and painful death in hospital.
British Prime Minister David Cameron played down the disagreement with the Kremlin. “This issue hasn’t been parked. The fact is that the two governments’ don’t agree.
We don’t agree with each other about this issue and it’s an important issue to the United Kingdom, I’m not downplaying it anyway. But I don’t think that means that we freeze the entire relationship,” the UK leader told a news conference after the signing.
Lugovoy, a former officer in the KGB, is now a deputy in Russia’s parliament, the Duma.
But despite renewed calls from Cameron, President Dmitry Medvedev reaffirmed that Lugovoy would never be extradited to Britain, as the Russian constitution forbids it.