President Putin: War in Iraq Would Be Mistake - 17 March, 2003

'The Russian government continues to believe that a possible war in Iraq would be a mistake.' According to the RTR television station, this statement was made today by President Vladimir Putin during a meeting with Chechen spiritual leaders. 'We are in favour of resolving the problem exclusively by peaceful means. Any other development would be a mistake. It would be fraught with the most serious consequences and would lead to many victims and the destabilisation of the international situation as a whole,' said Putin. The President stressed that Russia's position remains clear, understood and unchanged.

Vladimir Putin also said that he was aware of the prayers that had recently been said in almost all the country's mosques in the hope of ending the threat of war, and that he fully supported this concern.