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March 20, 2003
 
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Russia's Putin Calls for End to U.S. Action in Iraq

Reuters


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MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday condemned U.S. military action against Iraq and called for a rapid end to U.S. operations.

Putin told senior ministers in the Kremlin: "Military action can in no way be justified. Military action is a big political error."

If the world submitted to the right of might then no country would be safe, he said. "It is for these reasons that Russia insists on an end as quickly as possible to military action."

It was unusually sharp language from Putin, who has fought hard to preserve a new partnership with President Bush while at the same time opposing U.S. plans to topple Iraqi President Saddam Hussein by force.

Russia, together with anti-war ally France, had threatened to block passage of any resolution in the U.N. Security Council that would have endorsed the use of force in Iraq.

Along with France, Germany and China, it had called for continuation of U.N. arms inspections as authorized by a Security Council resolution approved unanimously last November to ensure that Iraq was free of banned weapons.

Copyright 2003 Reuters News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

 
 
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