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Last Updated:  Wednesday, 2 April, 2003, 22:58 GMT 23:58 UK
Russia raps US over Iraq raids
Baghdad bombing
Baghdad has been subjected to daily bombing raids
Russia has issued a formal diplomatic protest to the United States, saying that air strikes have targeted a residential quarter of Baghdad where its embassy is situated.

US Ambassador in Moscow Alexander Vershbow was summoned to the Russian foreign ministry to be told that the lives of Russian diplomats had been put in danger in the "unacceptable" raids.

"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," a statement from the ministry said.

But later, President Vladimir Putin said he wanted US-led forces to win the war, even though he still disagreed with the conflict.

"It is not in Russia's interest to see the United States defeated," he said.

"What is in our interest is to see this issue put back within the framework of the United Nations...The sooner this happens, the better it will be for all countries involved in this conflict."

Washington complaint

The foreign ministry did not report any casualties at the embassy, which has been operating with a skeleton staff since non-essential personnel were evacuated.

The Russian Ambassador in Washington, Yuri Ushakov, has made a similar protest.

Baghdad has been subjected to daily bombing raids since 20 March, when the US-led attack on Iraq began.

US relations with China were seriously damaged after jets mistakenly bombed Beijing's embassy in Belgrade during the 1999 Kosovo campaign.




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