Russian Embassy in London.
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Calls For Britain And Russia To Improve Co-Operation

A year ago, Russia-UK relations hit a new low after the Novichok chemical weapon attack in Salisbury.

Russian Embassy in London.

A joint call to improve co-operation between Britain and Russia has been made by leading defence think tanks from both countries.

The Royal United Services Institute, and Russian International Affairs Council, say working together on areas like Cyber security and terrorism could eventually help ease huge political tensions.

A year ago, Russia-UK relations hit a new low after the Novichok chemical weapon attack in Salisbury.

Sergei and Yulia Skripal were the targets of the attack in Salisbury.
Sergei and Yulia Skripal were the targets of the attack in Salisbury.

Dialogue - already badly hit after Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea - almost totally froze.

There have been increased military exercises on either side - Royal Navy escorts for Russian ships, RAF jets intercepting Russian planes.

Andrey Kortunov, Director-General of the Russian International Affairs Council, says it should not be allowed to continue like this.

"Unfortunately, we cannot even talk about the risks of military conflict if there is no communication lines and there is no understanding of each other these risks are likely to grow," he explained. 

Russia has accused the UK of aggression with deployments of troops to Estonia and Poland.
Russia has accused the UK of aggression with deployments of troops to Estonia and Poland.

Last month Britain told Russia its behaviour had to change before the relationship could change.

Russia denied any wrongdoing and in turn accuses the UK of aggression with deployments of troops to Estonia and Poland.

This report argues the two countries should find areas of common interest to work on together, despite the political stalemate.

One of the report's authors, Emily Ferris, said: "Russia is a very important partner for co-operating on things like organised crime and drug trafficking from Afghanistan through a lot of routes in Russia.

"International terrorism is something which affects all of us, and even cybersecurity."

They acknowledge the political difficulties facing London and Moscow in working together, but hope away from the public gaze, a gradual thaw in relations can begin to the benefit of both countries.