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April 2, 2003
 
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Moscow Protests Airstrikes Near Embassy
Moscow Protests U.S. Airstrikes Near Russian Embassy in Baghdad in Latest Sign of Tensions

The Associated Press


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MOSCOW April 2

In the latest sign of U.S.-Russian tensions over Iraq, the Foreign Ministry protested Wednesday against American airstrikes that allegedly targeted a Baghdad neighborhood where the Russian Embassy is located.

U.S. Ambassador Alexander Vershbow was called to the ministry to hear a protest of the bombing, the ministry said in a statement.

"The Russian side demanded that the American authorities take urgent and exhaustive measures so that such dangerous and unacceptable incidents are not repeated in the future," the ministry said.

Russia did not report any casualties in the strikes, but said "the security of the Russian diplomatic representation's staff came under direct threat."

Russia's ambassador to the United States, Yuri Ushakov, delivered a similar protest to U.S. officials, it said.

Asked about Vershbow's meeting at the Foreign Ministry, a U.S. Embassy official said that U.S. forces are designating only military targets and using only precision-guided weapons in Iraq.

Russia, a vocal opponent of the war, has expressed concern that its extensive economic interests in Iraq may be swept aside in the aftermath of the conflict.

Russian President Vladimir Putin last week called the war the most serious crisis since the end of the Cold War

The United States has accused Russian companies of selling military equipment to Baghdad in violation of U.N. sanctions, a claim Moscow vehemently denies.

Copyright 2003 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

 
 
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