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FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Russia Blasts Sweden for Aiding Chechen "Bandits"

Tuesday's news conference in Moscow

Diplomatic talks between Sweden and Russia in Moscow on Tuesday ended with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev accusing Sweden of sheltering Russian fugutives and called for their extradition.

It's thought that Medvedev's comments during a live news conference with Swedish prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt were referring to Chechen separatists. Sweden has refused Russian demands over the last few years to hand over two Chechen rebels it suspects of terrorism, attempted murder and kidnapping.

In his news conference, Medvedev said there were "bandits who, regrettably found shelter in Sweden."

Medvedev told Reinfeldt " I hope work will continue in the framework of agreements signed between prosecutors."

Reinfeldt, who has sought to improve ties with Moscow that were strained by the Russia-Georgia war of August 2008, told AFP news that he had a "frank and constructive discussion" with Medvedev about human rights.

During Reinfeldt's visit to Moscow on Tuesday, Russia and Sweden signed agreements on space travel, health, culture and law enforcement. Medvedev and Reinfeldt also pledged to work together to fight pollution in the Baltic Sea.

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