THE JOURNAL consists of selected, most notable and newsworthy POSTINGS OF THE DAY.

Friday, July 20, 2007

24. Brown Blasts Putin

By taking a firm stand, Brown says no to nonsense. The suspect has to be brought to justice. Putin by denying that says " go to hell." Read on ...

Furious Gordon Brown last night stood up to Vladimir Putin - saying he had no apologies for expelling four Russian diplomats.

The officials were booted out over Moscow’s refusal to allow the extradition of a spy suspected of killing Alexander Litvinenko. Andrei Lugovoy is being sought after Mr Litvinenko, 43, was poisoned with a lethal dose of Polonium-210 in London last November.

But Russian president Putin refuses to hand over Lugovoy - like Litvinenko, an ex KGB agent - to face trial here. Mr Brown, on a visit to Germany, said he wouldn’t let “lawlessness” take a grip in London.

The PM said: “I have no apology to make for this action. When a murder has been committed on British soil, and hundreds of innocent civilians’ lives have been put at risk, we expect authorities in other parts of the world to bring that person to justice. Failure to recognise that has led to this action.”

It is the first time in 11 years that Russian officials have been thrown out of Britain and it marks the biggest chill in relations since the end of the Cold War. Foreign Secretary David Miliband told MPs: “The heinous crime of murder requires justice.”

The knock-on effect of yesterday’s move in trade relations and criminal co-operation could be huge. Visa arrangements were suspended as Mr Putin threatened retaliation.

Mr Litvinenko’s widow Marina said she was “very grateful” for the expulsions - adding she was “proud to be a UK citizen”.

Mr Lugovoy, who denies the murder, blasted Mr Miliband, saying: “If they blame me directly, I will take that minister to court.”

Meanwhile it was reported, 18.7.2007, that Britain was waiting for a response from Russia, which has said it is planning a "targeted and appropriate" reply, in the ongoing diplomatic dispute between the two countries.

It was reported this morning that Russia has expelled 4 British diplomats over the spat - The Sun, U.K./AFP.