The British head of a Roman Catholic charity working in eastern Europe has called Russia's new prime minister, Yevgeny Primakov, a "parasite" who could prove to be an enemy of Christianity.

Neville Kyrke-Smith, UK director of Aid to the Church in Need, told a meeting of supporters in Edinburgh earlier this month, "Yevgeny Primakov is an old KGB man. He is a parasite of the old system and has only come to any position of power through working as a secret agent for an atheistic regime."There is a very real danger that he will see Christianity as an enemy of the state, undermining a socialist society."

Kyrke-Smith said there was a special risk to Roman Catholicism, "which may once again be seen as a foreign imperialist power interfering in the affairs of Holy Russia."