Moscow insists on urgent measures to catch diplomats' killers

Other News Materials 29 June 2006 10:44 (UTC +04:00)

(RIA Novosti) - Moscow insists on urgent measures to find and apprehend the killers of five Russian diplomats in Baghdad, the Russian foreign minister said Wednesday.

"We have addressed the corresponding Iraqi services and the leaders of the international coalition led by the U.S., which is still in Iraq, [asking them] to take urgent measures to identify the criminals, detain them and bring them to justice," Sergei Lavrov told Russian TV channels, reports Trend.

Earlier in the day, the Kremlin press service said President Vladimir Putin had ordered the security services to find the killers and eliminate them.

Lavrov said his ministry maintained constant contacts with relevant services and ministries of the states that could know anything about the abducted Russians.

At a meeting earlier with a Saudi prince, Putin said that Russia would be grateful to its friends for any information about the killers.

The men were kidnapped June 3 in a raid on a Russian Embassy car in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad. Another diplomat was killed during the attack.

On Sunday, Arab television channel Al Jazeera reported referring to an Internet statement made by al-Qaeda in Iraq that terrorists had executed the four abducted men in revenge for what they claimed was "the torture, killing and expulsion of our brothers and sisters by the infidel Russian government" in Chechnya.

The Russian Foreign Ministry confirmed the deaths the next day.

Nikolai Patrushev, the head of the Federal Security Service, told journalists earlier Wednesday that his service had received the president's instructions. "We will work to ensure so that not one of the terrorists who committed the crime escapes just punishment," he said.

And Sergei Mironov, the speaker of Russia's upper house of parliament, the Federation Council, said he hoped for assistance from foreign services to locate the killers.

"I would also like to recall the opinion that Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov voiced several months ago on the possibility of delivering preventive strikes against [overseas] terrorist bases that threaten Russia's security," he told a news conference in the French city of Strasbourg, where he is currently on a visit.