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Putin rebukes UK ambassador on Russia constitution remarks

[JURIST] Russian President Vladimir Putin [official website] Tuesday rebuked UK Ambassador to Russia Sir Tony Brenton's suggestion that Russian authorities should interpret the Russian constitution's prohibition on extraditing citizens in "light of the circumstances" [JURIST report], calling it an "insult for our nation and our people" and characterizing the UK's insistence for the extradition of Andrei Lugovoy [JURIST news archive] as "a clear remnant of colonial thinking." Russian authorities have repeatedly refused to extradite Lugovoy for the poisoning-murder of former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko [BBC profile; BBC timeline] on the grounds that the Russian constitution prohibits extraditing citizens [MFA statement; JURIST report] for crimes allegedly committed abroad.

Brenton, in an interview [transcript] published Monday by Intefax and the Kommersant [media websites], implied that the Russian government should be able extradite Lugovoy because it routinely ignore sections of the Russian constitution. Last Monday, the UK expelled four Russian diplomats [press release; JURIST report], blaming Russia's "failure to cooperate to find a solution" to the two countries' differences. Russia responded by expelling four British diplomats [MFA press release; JURIST report]. The Times has more.

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