For four years, Putin refused to talk to Britain

Last Updated: Fri, Sep 09, 2011 12:20 hrs

London, Sep 9 (IANS) Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin refused to talk to British officials for over four years, after Britain accused him in late 2006 of causing the death of a former Russian spy who sought asylum there.

British Prime Minister David Cameron will meet Putin for the first time Monday in Russia.

'But humiliatingly, sources revealed the (British) prime minister was made to plead for the face-to-face,' The Sun reported.

Alexander Litvinenko, a former spy of the Russian federal security service, FSB and KGB, escaped prosecution in Russia and received political asylum in Britain.

He wrote two books 'Blowing up Russia: Terror from within' and 'Lubyanka Criminal Group', where he accused the secret services of staging bombings to bring Vladimir Putin to power.

In November 2006, Litvinenko became the first confirmed victim of lethal polonium-210-induced acute radiation syndrome.

Putin 'flew into a rage' after Britain accused his secret agents of murdering Litvinenko.

The Sun said British ambassador to Moscow Dame Anne Pringle tried hard for weeks for the meeting between the two prime ministers before Putin finally agreed.

A Moscow official said: 'Putin's priorities lie elsewhere. Britain's response to the Litvinenko killing infuriated him.'

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