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Powell Offers New Criticism of Putin Limits on Reforms

Secretary of State Colin L. Powell expressed concern on Tuesday over President Vladimir V. Putin’s recent action to consolidate his power in Russia, declaring that Mr. Putin was “pulling back” on democratic reforms in the name of fighting terrorism. In guarded comments that nonetheless amounted to the most explicit criticism of Mr. Putin by the Bush administration in some time and were more critical than the initial White House statement on Monday that his actions were an internal Russian matter, Mr. Powell said he intended to take up the administration’s concerns in meetings with Russian leaders, perhaps with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at the United Nations next week.Full Story

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