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You're reading: Russia hopes Olympics will improve British ties
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Relations between the two countries soured after the 2006 death of dissident ex-Russian security agent Alexander Litvinenko in London, with Russia refusing repeated British requests for the extradition of the chief suspect. Litvinenko made a deathbed statement accusing Russian leader Vladimir Putin of authorizing his killing.

And at the British Parliament this week, former Foreign Office minister Denis MacShane urged the current government to tell Prime Minister Putin he is not welcome at the opening ceremony of the Olympics on July 27.

"We expect him in London," Russian Olympic Committee Vice President Akhmed Bilalov told reporters in London on Thursday before adding with a smile: "If the British members of parliament don’t mind it of course."

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