Sergey Ivanov: Moscow did not give Saddam information on U.S. troops

Russia 's defense minister on Tuesday said reports that Moscow had provided information to Saddam Hussein's regime on U.S. troop movements were "total rubbish."

Sergei Ivanov, who is also a deputy prime minister, joined a chorus of denials from Russian officials following a Pentagon report that alleged that two seized Iraqi documents indicate Moscow obtained information from sources inside the U.S. Central Command and passed battlefield intelligence to Iraqi officials.

"Naturally, we did not supply anyone with information. And this came up now because it has been three years since the war in Iraq started, and I guess things are not going very well. So (someone) wants to distract the attention, to point at someone else," Ivanov said.

"There is nothing to comment on here.... I believe it is total rubbish. Thank you. Without using the proper American word starting with 'bull'," he said.

Russia 's Foreign Intelligence Service dismissed the allegations over the weekend and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Monday accused the United States of having other intentions.

"How this was done allows one to speculate that this has hidden political motives and that this is being done in connection with Iraq , but I can hardly be sure of it," Lavrov said.

"It is unclear to us why the international community has to learn about such facts regarding Russian intelligence cooperation in Iraq from the media," he said.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the U.S. administration will ask Russia about the report.

"Any implication that there were those from a foreign government who may have been passing information to the Iraqis prior to the invasion would be, of course, very worrying," Rice said Sunday on the CNN television network. "I would think the Russians would want to take that very seriously as well."

In Washington, U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said Rice plans to discuss the matter directly with Lavrov, by telephone this week or in person Thursday, when they meet in Berlin for a gathering of the foreign ministers of the permanent U.N. Security Council members.

Assistant U.S. Secretary of State Daniel Fried, meanwhile, conveyed the U.S. request for the Russian government to look into the matter through Moscow 's ambassador in Washington , McCormack said, reports the AP.


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