Eu/russia : Chizhov: Eu's Criticism over Litvinenko Case "An Unpleasant Surprise"

Europe-East, September 24, 2007 | Go to article overview

Eu/russia : Chizhov: Eu's Criticism over Litvinenko Case "An Unpleasant Surprise"


Russia's Ambassador to the EU Vladimir Chizhov said on 18 July that the EU's criticism of Russia over the way it handles the Litvinenko case "will certainly affect relations between the EU and Russia".

The day before, the EU criticised Russia's failure to "cooperate constructively" with the UK authorities on the murder of Alexander Litvinenko, a Russian ex-KGB agent turned Kremlin critic, who died from radioactive poisoning last November in London. "The EU expresses its disappointment at Russia's failure to cooperate constructively with the UK authorities," reads the Portuguese Presidency's statement issued on 17 July. The EU also demanded "urgent and constructive" cooperation from Russia's authorities.

Chizhov said that the EU's statement supporting London was "an unpleasant surprise" for Russia. Moscow had earlier urged the EU to keep out of the dispute. "We hope that, in the EU, good sense will prevail and its members will not try once again to turn EU-Russia relations into an instrument for achieving unilateral political goals," said Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko.

The EU's reaction came hot on the heels of Moscow's refusal to extradite a key suspect in the Litvinenko case,aAndrei Lugovoi, to face trial in Britain. Following months of investigation, British prosecutors had requested that Lugovoi, a former KGB officer, be extradited to the UK. The authorities in Moscow rejected this request, saying that the Russian constitution does not allow for the extradition of Russian nationals. …

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