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Kremlin Drastically Curtails its Cooperation with Scotland Yard Investigation of Litvinenko

The media is reporting that Russia has set forth serious restrictions in regards to its cooperation with the Scotland Yard investigation of the Alexander Litvinenko poisoning. At the moment in which Russia should be setting a precedent with a new level of transparency and cooperation, instead the Kremlin is viewing the investigation as an opportunity to push forward their requests for extraditions. The WSJ reports: But a day after investigators from London’s Metropolitan Police, as Scotland Yard is formally known, arrived in Moscow to pursue their probe, Yuri Chaika, Russia’s prosecutor general, set clear limits on their reach. He said only Russian police would be able to question suspects, though British police can listen. He said no Russian could be brought to the United Kingdom for questioning or trial since the two countries have no extradition treaty. He ruled out questioning leaders at the FSB, Russia’s state security service. “Why question the FSB leadership?” Mr. Chaika said. “We’ll end up having to question everyone in Russia.” … Still, Russia’s response to Mr. Litvinenko’s death is raising concerns. “It is my view…that the Russian side also must make its contribution” in clearing up the case, said German Chancellor Angela Merkel. And French President Jacques Chirac, meeting with Ms. Merkel in Germany, said Russia “must provide perfectly transparent cooperation.” Russia’s relations with the West have cooled dramatically in the past several years as the Kremlin has become more assertive abroad and Western criticism of Kremlin domestic policies has sharpened. In one high-profile sign of friction, Moscow has continually frustrated Washington’s efforts to impose tighter sanctions on Iran to curb that country’s nuclear program. Russia’s efforts to convert its vast oil and gas resources into political capital have raised tensions and spurred European governments to look for alternative fuel sources. The Kremlin’s efforts to pressure neighboring governments it views as unfriendly and support those it sees as allies have provoked harsh reactions in Europe and the U.S. … Indeed, Russia’s state-run television began its prime-time newscast last night by saying that Russia had amassed enough evidence against British transplants Mr. Berezovsky and Akhmed Zakayev, an alleged terrorist, to prosecute them, but that Britain wouldn’t extradite them to Russia. The newscast didn’t specify their alleged crimes.