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Putin backs tit-for-tat response to US rights law

Published on Dec 20, 2012 11:47 PM
 

MOSCOW (REUTERS) - President Vladimir Putin backed a ban on Americans adopting Russian children on Thursday in a feud over a US law that aims to punish Russians accused of violating human rights.

In his first annual news conference since he began a new six-year term in May, the former KGB spy often struck a hawkish tone, signalling support for tough retaliation against the"unfriendly" Magnitsky Act passed by Moscow's former Cold War enemy, which he said was poisoning relations.

He also held up a court ruling that will free former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky - a fierce critic of Putin's rule - from jail two years early in 2014 as evidence that he does not control the courts.

The 4-1/2-hour performance, broadcast live, was intended to end speculation about the 60-year-old's health and portray him as the guarantor of stability in a country that was under Soviet communist rule two decades ago.

 
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