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Russian President Vladimir Putin takes part in a wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier outside Moscow's Kremlin Wall, Russia, Friday, June 22, 2012, to mark the 71th anniversary of the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
LONDON (AP) -- Russia's President Vladimir Putin has criticized the feminist punk rockers facing trial for performing a "punk prayer" against him at Moscow's main cathedral. But Putin says that a punishment for them shouldn't be too severe.
Putin's comments to Russian reporters on a visit to the London Olympics were the leader's first reaction to the trial of three members of the Pussy Riot band, whose imprisonment has drawn international outrage. It may signal that the Kremlin has opted for a milder punishment for the women than the seven years they could face.
Asked about the case, Putin said that the stunt "was no good" and would have entailed a much tougher punishment for its participants if they had performed it at a holy site in Israel or even death if they had done it at some Muslim site in Russia's North Caucasus region.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)