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Russia denies envoy gave Iraq intelligence-report

Written by: Staff

Moscow, Mar 25: Russia today (Mar 25, 2006) dismissed a Pentagon report that claimed Russia's ambassador in Baghdad gave intelligence on US military movements to Iraq's government in the opening days of the 2003 US-led invasion.

''Time and again we hear these sorts of groundless accusations against Russian intelligence,'' the Interfax news agency quoted Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) spokesman Boris Labusov as saying.

''We do not think it necessary to comment on these sorts of insinuations,'' he told Interfax.

The 210-page report by the US military's Joint Forces Command cited an April 2, 2003, document from the Iraqi minister of foreign affairs to President Saddam Hussein as stating the Russian ambassador to Baghdad had funnelled strategic intelligence on US plans to Saddam's government.

''The intelligence services ... do not involve official diplomatic representatives,'' Interfax also quoted an unnamed source, close to the intelligence service, as saying.

Another Iraqi document, dated March 24, 2003, referred to Russian ''sources'' inside the US military's Central Command headquarters in Qatar.

The allegations about the actions of Russia were based on captured documents from an Iraqi government on the verge of being toppled. The report did not present any further documentation of the allegations.

Russian President Vladimir Putin opposed the invasion of Iraq, with which Moscow had long-standing economic ties.


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