"A small island no-one pays attention to."

Thus, a Russian spokesman described Britain in the days before David Cameron travelled to St. Petersburg for the G20 summit.

After the BBC first reported this yesterday, President Putin's press secretary and close adviser Dmitri Peskov insisted that "it is definitely not something I have said". He went on to add that Mr Putin had good relations with David Cameron.

Number 10 seem unconvinced. A spokesman said: "I'm sure the Russians will want to clarify these reported remarks."

They went on to claim that the G20 agenda reflected "a very British agenda" and "highlighted how a small island with great people can achieve a big footprint in the world."

It is clear that beneath the smiles and handshakes at this summit the tensions lie not far below the surface.


At 2am local time Putin began his second meeting of the evening with the leader of the small island....