Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and new British Prime Minister David Cameron have agreed to revive the relationship between their two nations after years of glacial interactions, the Kremlin announced on Saturday.
Meeting Mr. Cameron for the first time at the Group of Eight (G8) summit in Canada, Mr. Medvedev said that a “certain adjustment” in the countries’ relations is needed.
Mr. Cameron in turn spoke of “a real opportunity to put the bilateral relationship onto a new footing and try to make a stronger start.” Mr. Medvedev and Mr. Cameron agreed to maintain regular personal contact, while their respective foreign ministers would also be encouraged to work together more closely.
Russian—British relations had been icy under Mr. Cameron’s predecessor, Labour premier Gordon Brown. Russia blamed Britain for the diplomatic strain.
The relationship had been particularly tested after the 2006 fatal poisoning of former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko in London.
British investigators suspected Russian parliament member Andrei Lugovoi of the murder, but Russia blocked his extradition.
Russia, meanwhile, has demanded that Britain hand over the exiled Russian billionaire and government opponent Boris Berezovsky, who has been sentenced in absentia to a long prison sentence on fraud and embezzlement charges back home.
That dispute led Britain to expel Russian diplomats. Russia soon followed suit, additionally shutting down two branches of the British Council, a cultural and educational organisation affiliated with the British foreign ministry.