Putin, Medvedev to see UK PM

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IOL pic july26 russia vladimir putin Associated Press (File image) Russian President Vladimir Putin

Moscow - Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev will attend the 2012 London Olympics and meet British Prime Minister David Cameron, Russian authorities said on Friday.

The Kremlin said Putin would make a “short working visit” to Britain on August 2 to see Cameron and take in some Olympic events. Medvedev's office said he would fly to London on Friday and lead the official Russian delegation.

It will be Putin's first visit to Britain in nine years, but any efforts to smooth long-strained ties will be complicated by deep differences over Syria.

Relations between the two nations have been troubled for years by disputes ranging from espionage to human rights. Russia and Britain remain at odds over the 2006 death from radiation poisoning in London of Kremlin critic Alexander Litvinenko.

Cameron is likely to press Putin and Medvedev over Syria. Russia has frustrated efforts by Western nations to put more pressure on President Bashar al-Assad to end 16 months of bloodshed, blocking three UN Security Council resolutions.

Cameron had earlier confirmed Putin would visit Britain during the Olympics, saying they would watch part of the judo competition together.

Medvedev, heading to Britain on Friday to attend the Olympics opening ceremony, will watch a women's volleyball match between Russia and Britain on Saturday and meet Russian athletes, his office said in a statement.

Russia's president until Putin returned to the top office in May and appointed his protege to the number two post, Medvedev will meet Cameron during a reception for foreign dignitaries on behalf of Queen Elizabeth on Friday.

Russia hopes its 436 competitors will make it to third place in London's overall medals table with expectations running high for pole vault queen Yelena Isinbayeva and middle-distance runner Yuri Borzakovsky, among others. - Reuters

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