The Observer (London)
August 19, 2007
The diplomatic atmosphere between Britain and Russia has been getting sharply chillier since Moscow refused to extradite the man Scotland Yard accuses of the murder of ex-spy Alexander Litvinenko. There were tit-for-tat embassy expulsions. Now the BBC World Service has had its licence to broadcast in Moscow revoked.
But this is a sideshow in a broader story of Russia’s growing suspicion of the West and a tendency towards neo-Soviet grandstanding. President Vladimir Putin last week said that, in response to ‘strategic threats by other military powers’, Russian long-range bombers would resume their Cold War routine of flights around the world. Russian jets have also started testing Nato defences, ‘buzzing’ targets near US and UK bases.