The Russian Foreign Ministry has denied reports that it was preparing to send Russian soldiers to Iraq.
"This information is not true," Alexander Yakovenko, the official spokesman of the Russian Foreign Ministry said. "There are no plans to send Russian soldiers to Iraq."
Earlier, there were reports in the press that Washington and Moscow were negotiating to send Russian soldiers to Iraq.
Colonel Vyacheslav Sedov, the head of the Defense Ministry's press service, made a similar statement: "Russia's position is constant: we are not going to send Russian soldiers to conflict zones - Iraq and Afghanistan - not simply in exchange for any economic blessing." Col. Sedov was responding to reports in the press about the possibility of Russia sending a contingent of 40,000 troops to Iraq in exchange for some economic concessions from the United States.
According to Col. Sedov, the scenario is hardly possible. It is just rumors and is not substantiated, he said.
Earlier, President Vladimir Putin, and after him, Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov, said that even the hypothetical possibility of sending Russian troops - in any quantity - to Iraq or Afghanistan had been ruled out.