Russia denies Pentagon Iraq intelligence allegations
MOSCOW, Mar 30 (Reuters) Russia today denied a Pentagon report that a Russian diplomat gave intelligence on US military moves to Baghdad during the Iraq War and said the report was intended to distract attention from problems in Iraq.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mikhail Kamynin said in a statement that Moscow had looked into the assertions but that they were wrong.
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had asked Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov to look into the report which said that Russia's ambassador in Baghdad had given intelligence on US plans and military movements to the Iraqi government shortly after the 2003 invasion.
''Not for the first time is Russia accused of something that it did not do and that it would not do wittingly,'' Kamynin said in the statement, which was posted on the foreign ministry's Web site.
''Such practices can only provoke disappointment. Behind this, whether one likes it or not, there can be seen a definite motive of distracting attention from the mounting real problems in post-war Iraq.'' 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 given strategic intelligence on US plans and military movements to Hussein's government.
Russian President Vladimir Putin opposed the invasion of Iraq, which top Russian officials say is falling into civil war.
REUTERS PR RAI2142