Although allowing that Iraqi forces may have "deserved" the two U.S. air strikes launched recently against them, Russian security council secretary Aleksandr Lebed condemned on September 6 the U.S. actions as a violation of international norms. In an interview with the French news agency AFP, Lebed said that the U.S. missile strikes also raise concerns that a similar military intervention could be launched by the U.S. against Russia. (Itar-Tass, September 6) Lebed thus joins other Russian commentators who have warned in recent days that Moscow’s war in Chechnya, for example, could serve as a pretext for U.S. strikes on Russia, just as Baghdad’s military operations against the Kurds provoked the U.S. attack on Iraq.
Meanwhile, Russian officials continue to complain about financial losses likely to be incurred by Russian firms as a result of the U.S. military actions in Iraq. A senior diplomat said on September 6 that Russia has lost "tens of millions of dollars" due to the suspension of the Iraqi-U.N. "oil for food" deal. He also suggested that recent developments could further delay the lifting of U.N. sanctions against Iraq, which would also be costly for a number of Russian firms. (Interfax, September 6)
Belarusan Rally Commemorates Historic Victory over Moscow.