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Clinton: Russian Rights Record Threatens Progress

In wrapping up a visit to Moscow, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has called for Russia to uphold human rights.

On the second day of her Moscow visit, at the end of a European tour, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton voiced concern at recent attacks on activists and reporters willing to challenge the Kremlin.

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In an interview with radio station Ekho of Moscow, Clinton said the United States believes the killings of Russian journalists should be resolved and those guilty should be punished.

She said she brought up the issue in talks with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

"I mentioned the killings of journalists and I said that it is a matter of grave concern not just to the United States, but to the people of Russia, and not just to the activists, but to the people who worry that unsolved killings are a very serious challenge to order and to the fair functioning of society. And that we did not believe that enough was being done to make sure that no one had impunity from prosecution," she said.

Later, Clinton told an audience of Moscow State University students that attacks on journalists and human-rights defenders are a threat to progress. She said Russia must defend freedom so people can peacefully challenge accepted practice and authority.

Russia has long maintained that human rights are a domestic issue.

At talks Tuesday with Mr. Medvedev, Clinton failed to secure support for tougher sanctions on Iran, despite U.S. President Barack Obama's decision to scrap plans for a missile shield in central Europe - a concession to Russian concerns that Washington had hoped would encourage Moscow to back its position on Iran.

Despite the Iran issue, Clinton says the United States and Russia can deepen their bilateral relationship. In her radio interview, she added Mr. Obama and Mr. Medvedev have "very good personal chemistry".

"He [Russian President Dmitry Medvedev] is very engaged, he is very knowledgeable. There is not a subject you can raise that he does not respond and know what he wants to express. The two presidents have very good personal chemistry. I think they trust each other, now that does not mean we are going to agree - I mean, you do not agree in a family on everything," she said.

Before returning to Washington, Secretary Clinton is to fly to Russia's ethnically diverse Republic of Tartarstan to hold a roundtable discussion on Thursday.