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Putin says Russia, U.K. will overcome current diplomatic crisis - 1

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Russia's president said he is convinced that Russia and the U.K. will overcome the current crisis in their relations, which took a turn for the worse Thursday when Russia expelled four British diplomats in a reciprocal move.
(Recasts para 2, adds Putin quote, background in paras 3-4)

STARAYA TERIZMORGA (Mordovia), July 19 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's president said he is convinced that Russia and the U.K. will overcome the current crisis in their relations, which took a turn for the worse Thursday when Russia expelled four British diplomats in a reciprocal move.

"I think Russian-British relations will develop normally. I am convinced that we will cope with this mini-crisis too," Vladimir Putin told journalists after hosting a Finno-Ugric culture meeting with the leaders of Hungary and Finland in the Russian Republic of Mordovia.

Putin said that both Russia and the U.K. are interested in developing bilateral relations, "but any actions should be matched with common sense. The legal rights and interests of partners should be respected, and then everything will take the best course," he said.

London expelled four Russian diplomats after receiving Russia's official refusal to extradite Andrei Lugovoi, who Scotland Yard suspects of murdering former Russian security officer Alexander Litvinenko in London last November. Moscow's decision was based on the country's Constitution, which forbids the extradition of Russian citizens.

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