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|Blair 'Treads Carefully' in Russian Spy Case|
- Cautious response could be as-you-were signal to Russia
THE BRITISH government has to "tread carefully" in its response to the death in London last week of Russian ex-spy Alexander Litvinenko, said a spokesperson for Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Stories have flooded the media in recent days accusing the Russian President Putin himself of being behind Litvinenko's death, but the official British response has been to play a waiting game. So far, the police won't even classify the Litvinenko case as murder:
"The police have been very careful in the words they have used; they are dealing with a suspicious death," Home Secretary John Reid told the House of Commons yesterday. "We are not yet at the stage that there is definitely a third party involved."
Blair is due to meet Putin later this week in Latvia for a NATO summit, but it is thought unlikely Litvinenko's death will feature on the agenda and the chances are Reid's cautious reaction to the events of the last few weeks are a signal that the Blair government, like others in the west, will continue to be a supporter of the Russian president for political and economic reasons, not least Russia’s ready supply of oil and gas.
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