Downing St source defends Britain after 'Russia snub'

Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) welcomes Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron for the G20 summit. Credit: Kay Nietfeld/DPA/Press Association Images

A Downing Street source defended Britain amid reports that an aide to Russian president Vladimir Putin had dismissed Britain as "just a small island; no one pays any attention to them".

The source told the Press Association: "As host of guests from the world's leading countries, I'm sure the Russians will want to clarify these reported remarks, particularly at a G20 where it's a very British agenda on trade and tax.

"It highlights how a small island with great people can achieve a big footprint in the world."

Mr Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov denied making the comment, which was attributed to him by the BBC.