British PM challenges Putin over Syria during London visit

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British PM challenges Putin over Syria during London visit

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Russian President Vladimir Putin has been locking horns with British Prime Minister David Cameron during a visit to London.

Cameron tried to push the former KGB spy to take a tougher line on Syria, without success.

Britain called the decision by Russia and China to veto a United Nations resolution two weeks ago “inexcusable and indefensible.”

Cameron also grilled the president over a crackdown on Kremlin opponents. Putin is facing criticism in Moscow for trying to silence dissent after members of the punk band Pussy Riot went on trial and protest leader Alexei Navalny was charged with embezzlement.

After squaring off at no. 10 Downing Street, the two leaders travelled separately to the Olympics to watch judo – Putin’s favourite sport. As they set off, Cameron told reporters that they would only be watching, not taking to the mat themselves.

It is Putin’s first visit to Britain since being reinstalled as Russian president in May. While no breakthroughs were expected, Putin said he and Cameron had noted the fact that there are some things they agree on.