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Russia Denies Sharing US Invasion Plans With Iraq

25 March 2006

Russia's foreign intelligence service denies a Pentagon report that Moscow gave Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein intelligence about U.S. troop movements during the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

An official with Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service, SVR, says the U.S. report consists of unfounded accusations that are, in his words, so wild they are not worth commenting on.

In a statement, SVR Spokesman Boris Labusov indicated that similar accusations have been made before, but said all the reports are fabrications.

The Pentagon report quotes Iraqi documents as saying the Russian ambassador in Baghdad provided Saddam with information about U.S. military plans.

The information was allegedly collected from sources inside U.S. Central Command in Doha, Qatar, and passed on by Ambassador Vladimir Titorenko.

The U.S. military says some of the intelligence was false. The report says that contributed to Iraqi leaders' miscalculations about the U.S.-led invasion. It did not say whether the false information was leaked deliberately.

Titorenko later escaped injury, when American troops inadvertently fired on a convoy in which he and other diplomats were traveling to neighboring Syria.

Russia long maintained cordial relations with Saddam Hussein and his government, and had strong business interests in Iraq.

Russian President Vladimir Putin took a highly public position in opposition to the war, along with French President Jacques Chirac and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.

One intelligence unit of the Russian military was also known to be operating in Iraq at the time of the war.

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