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  Thursday, June 20, 2019
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Russia's foreign minister believes the deterioration in Russian-British relations over the "Litvinenko case" is linked to Britain's new cabinet
Russia's foreign minister believes the deterioration in Russian-British relations over the "Litvinenko case" is linked to Britain's new cabinet, dismissing suggestions Russia is refusing to cooperate with the U.K. "The new government is a major factor in what is happening now [deterioration in Russian-British relations]," Sergei Lavrov said at a news conference at the end of the Mideast Quartet meeting, adding that he hopes the U.K. cabinet "will learn the ropes, settle down and start working for the good of the British people and, hopefully, for the benefit of Russian-British relations." Russia's president said Thursday he is convinced that Russia and the U.K. will overcome the current crisis in their relations, which took a turn for the worse Thursday when Russia expelled four British diplomats in a reciprocal move. "I think Russian-British relations will develop normally. I am convinced that we will cope with this mini-crisis too," Vladimir Putin said, adding that that both Russia and the U.K. are interested in developing bilateral relations, "but any actions should be matched with common sense. The legal rights and interests of partners should be respected, and then everything will take the best course," he said. London expelled four Russian diplomats after receiving Russia's official refusal to extradite Andrei Lugovoi, who Scotland Yard suspects of murdering former Russian security officer Alexander Litvinenko in London last November. Moscow's decision was based on the country's Constitution, which does not permit the extradition of Russian citizens.
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