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Spokeswoman: May Tells Putin To Stop Destabilizing Activities


British Prime Minister Theresa May and Russian President Vladimir Putin meet on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Osaka.

British Prime Minister Theresa May has told Russian President Vladimir Putin that their countries can only have a different relationship if Moscow stops the behavior that threatens to undermine international security, her spokeswoman said.

May, who met with Putin on the sidelines of G20 summit on June 28 in Osaka, also told him to hand over the two Russian military intelligence officers blamed by Britain for poisoning a former double agent and his daughter with a nerve toxin in the southern English city of Salisbury last year.

The two leaders remained silent as they shook hands at the start of their meeting.

"She told the president that there cannot be a normalization of our bilateral relationship until Russia stops the irresponsible and destabilizing activity that threatens the U.K. and its allies," the spokeswoman said.

"The prime minister said that the use of a deadly nerve agent on the streets of Salisbury formed part of a wider pattern of unacceptable behavior and was a truly despicable act."

Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, were found unconscious on a park bench in Salisbury on March 4, 2018, and it was later discovered they had been exposed to Novichok, a Soviet-made military nerve agent. They both recovered.

But two other British citizens were exposed to the nerve agent in June 2018, apparently by accident; one of them died, while the other still suffers from health problems linked to the poisoning.

Britain expelled 23 Russian diplomats in the wake of the scandal.

In a Financial Times interview on June 28, Putin again insisted that Russia had nothing to do with the poisoning and argued that bilateral ties are far more important than "the fuss about spies not worth five copecks."

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters

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