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Far-Right Leaders Support Putin, Draw Condemnation

Delegates listen to speeches during the Russian International Conservative Forum in St. Petersburg on March 22.

Far-right figures from Europe and the United States and nationalist supporters of Russian President Vladimir Putin have criticized the West at a forum in St. Petersburg.

Participants at the Russian International Conservative Forum on March 22 condemned Western governments' stances on the conflict in Ukraine and praised what they described as Moscow's efforts to promote "traditional values."

Nick Griffin, the expelled former leader of the anti-immigrant British National Party, Udo Voigt, a senior figure in Germany's neo-Nazi fringe National Democratic Party, and members of the neo-Nazi Greek party Golden Dawn were among some 200 participants.

Griffin said that U.S.leaders "and their puppets in the European Union are doing everything they drag us into a terrible war" between government forces and Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine.

The gathering, which was halted by what authorities said was a bomb threat, drew criticism inside and outside Russia.

Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny wrote on Twitter: "The fascists have strangely and very quickly turned into Russia's friends."

Dozens of antifascist activists protested against the forum, and police detained eight of them.

Based on reporting by AFP, AP,, Ekho Moskvy