Russia deals blow to US relations by revoking law enforcement deal

Thu, Jan 31, 2013, 00:00

Russia scrapped a law enforcement agreement with the United States yesterday, further turning back the clock on a “reset” in relations since President Vladimir Putin’s return to the Kremlin last year.

An order to end the deal, signed by prime minister Dmitry Medvedev, was posted on the government’s website. It said the agreement, under which Washington provided financial assistance for law enforcement and drug control programmes, “does not address current realities and has exhausted its potential”.

Alexei Pushkov, a Putin ally who heads the international affairs committee in the lower parliament house, said Russia was “reformatting its relationship” with the US. “This is already the third agreement cancelled in the last half-year. We are saying farewell to our dependence on ‘Power No 1’,” he said on Twitter.

Mr Putin’s foreign policy rhetoric has frequently focused on external threats since he returned to the presidency in May.

Moscow ordered the US Agency for International Development to cease operations in Russia in October, saying the US was using the mission to interfere in politics. It has also outlawed US-funded “non-profit organisations that engage in political activity”.

Moscow was infuriated by a US law adopted in December that bars Russians accused of grave human rights abuses from entering the US and freezes assets they have there.

It responded with legislation imposing similar measures and banned the adoption of Russian children by American families, damaging what was left of the “reset” in ties initiated by President Barack Obama early in his first term.

Mr Putin has also sought to shed Russia’s image as a financial aid recipient. The foreign ministry said the agreement was reached at a time when Moscow was short of funds for law enforcement. – (Reuters)