Putin slams MI6 boss for lack of experience – ‘Don’t spoil Russian-British relations’

Vladimir Putin 'trolling' UK with submarines claims expert

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Mr Putin also claimed that Richard Moore, who took on the role last October, lacks experience. The comments against Mr Moore follow the MI6 head’s assessment of Russia during an interview with Times Radio in which he said the country was an “objectively declining power economically and demographically.”

When asked his opinion on the comments during a news conference, Mr Putin said: “You said that the new head of MI6 has given these assessments, so he is new and I think he is going to get some experience and he will probably revisit his assessments (on) if Russia is a declining power.

“So why bother? Why be concerned? Just live your life and don’t try to spoil the Russian-British relations further.”

Remarking on the recently observed surge in trade between the UK and Russia, he added: “If you don’t try to interfere into this process then everything is going to be good.”

According to a report from the Department for International Trade released on May 14, the total trade in goods and services including imports and exports between the UK and Russia decreased by around £1.7 billion over 2020.

In the four quarters to the end of last year, Russia was the UK’s 21st largest trading partner and accounted for 1.1% of total UK trade.

Relations with Russia have been strained since the novichok attack in 2018 in which two Russian agents allegedly tried to kill Sergei Skripal, a former Russian spy who now works with MI6.

More recently Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab alleged Russia had played a part in the forced “hijacking” of a Ryanair flight to Belarus which resulted in the arrest of a journalist and his girlfriend.

Mr Raab said it was “very difficult to believe” the incident had happened “without at least the acquiescence of the authorities in Moscow.”

Mr Moore criticised Russia’s behaviour over the novichok attack in Salisbury and their recent actions in Ukraine.

He said: “When you get that pattern of reckless behaviour, of course you then look at what is happening around Ukraine and of course it worries us.

“It is why we have coordinated so closely with our allies to make sure we are getting firm messages back to President Putin.

“It is an extremely challenged place.”

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Mr Moore also condemned the treatment of government critic Alexei Navalny, which saw thousands of protesters voice their support across Russia.

Russia’s response to the protests was widely criticised as heavy handed and resulted in thousands of arrests.

Mr Moore said the protests clearly showed a sign of “disaffection with Mr Putin.”

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