June 6, 2019 / 3:16 PM / 14 days ago

Russia needs to change its behavior for better relations: UK PM May's spokeswoman

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during his meeting with chiefs of International News Agencies on the sideline of St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), Russia June 6, 2019. Sputnik/Aleksey Nikolskyi/Kremlin via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. - RC15EB47BCB0

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s relationship with Russia can only change when Moscow changes its behavior, Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokeswoman said on Thursday, after President Vladimir Putin said he hoped for better relations under her successor.

Putin said he hoped a new British prime minister would work toward improving bilateral relations, badly soured last year by the poisoning of a former Russian double agent in England that London blamed on Moscow.

The spokeswoman told reporters: “We have been clear that Russia’s pattern of aggression and destabilizing behavior undermines its claims to be a responsible international partner.

“We will continue to engage with Russia on matters of international security as this is in the UK’s national interest ... however the PM has made clear on numerous occasions we can only have a different relationship if Russia changes its behavior.”

Reporting by William James, writing by Elizabeth Piper

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