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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Putin Warns of Threats to Democratic Societies

APPutin handing off a pen to Jacques Chirac during Friday's signing ceremony.
GLENEAGLES, Scotland -- Terrorists should not be allowed to cause division among world leaders, President Vladimir Putin said Friday, at the end of a Group of Eight summit that was overshadowed by the deadly train and bus bombings in London a day earlier.

Democratic societies are well equipped to tackle terrorism, Putin said. "The main condition, I want to stress this yet again, is not to allow terrorists to creep through the crevices between us and breach our common struggle."

Putin said that if countries were to restrict democratic liberties in response to attacks, "we would be giving a great gift to the terrorists themselves because they are aiming exactly for that. They want to use the instruments of democratic society to destroy democracy."

The president insisted that "there cannot be any double standards," adding that "unfortunately, we learn from such mistakes." "We will defeat terrorism eventually," he said.

On Thursday, Putin made a "small, emotional presentation" in which he said he had already told British Prime Minister Tony Blair a year ago that the anti-terrorism struggle was set back by divisions, including the failure to acknowledge that Chechen rebels were international terrorists, a source in the Russian delegation said. He said that unlike the divided G8, terrorists constituted "one, well-organized group" able to act against individual countries and their citizens. "If this continues, terrorism will conquer us all," Putin said, the source said on condition of anonymity.

Earlier Thursday, Putin had issued a statement of condolence following the London attacks in which he called for an end to what he called double standards on terrorism.

Russia has objected vehemently to Britain's granting asylum to a top Chechen rebel representative, Akhmed Zakayev, and the United States' giving refuge to another, Ilyas Akhmatov.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also hit the theme, condemning the bombings but hinting that Western countries were being hypocritical.

"No one who is encouraging and organizing terrorist attacks can be given asylum in any civilized country," he said at a briefing in Moscow with Greek Foreign Minister Petros Molyviatis. "Nobody can dress terrorists in the clothes of politicians and build politics around it."

The fight against terrorism "must be conducted together on the basis of single standards and it is highly dangerous and misleading to think that those who support and encourage terrorism can be called political figures," Lavrov said.