— 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
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
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.
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