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Putin, May to meet in 'near future': Kremlin

Wednesday, August 10, 2016 - 07:24
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Russian President Vladimir Putin and British Prime Minister Theresa May have agreed to meet in "the near future", the Kremlin said Tuesday.

[MOSCOW] Russian President Vladimir Putin and British Prime Minister Theresa May have agreed to meet in "the near future", the Kremlin said Tuesday.

During a phone call initiated by London, the two leaders "planned to hold a private meeting in the near future," the Kremlin said in a statement, without naming a date.

British relations with Russia have soured in recent years, notably over efforts to prosecute the case of Kremlin critic and former spy Alexander Litvinenko, who was murdered by radiation poisoning in London in 2006.

Britain has also been one of the most fervent supporters of Western sanctions against Moscow over Russia's role in the Ukraine crisis.

"While discussing topical issues in Russian-British relations, both sides expressed dissatisfaction with the current state of cooperation in the political, trade and economic spheres," the Kremlin statement said.

The leaders agreed to intensify "joint work on a number of fronts" including air transportation safety, the statement said.

When Ms May took office last month, Mr Putin said he was ready for "constructive dialogue" with the new British leader.

The Kremlin strongman had accused the British government of being "overconfident" and "superficial" in the June referendum that saw the UK vote to split from the European Union.

Mr Putin warned that the move to leave the EU "will have consequences for the United Kingdom, for all of Europe and for us, of course."

Many observers have said that Brexit would play into Mr Putin's hands as he has been accused of trying to drive a wedge between EU members.

But Mr Putin in June said that Russia had never "interfered, never expressed our opinion on the matter" and dismissed attempts to associate Moscow with the vote.

AFP

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