Russia will consider Iraq air strikes if Baghdad asks: diplomat

1st October 2015, Comments 0 comments

Russia is ready to consider expanding its new military campaign beyond Syria to launch air strikes against Islamic State targets in Iraq if Baghdad asks it to do so, Moscow said on Thursday.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, in an interview with French television station France 24 recorded Wednesday, said Russian strikes over Iraqi territory were "a possibility".

Moscow would consider launching the strikes "if we get such a request from the Iraqi government or a Security Council resolution that depends decisively on the will of the Iraq government," senior foreign ministry official Ilya Rogachyov told the RIA Novosti state news agency.

Rogachyov said that "if there are sufficient grounds such as this, the political and military expediency will be considered."

Russia's upper house of parliament on Wednesday granted President Vladimir Putin formal permission to carry out air strikes outside Russia's borders, the wording of which did not specifically refer to Syria.

Konstantin Kosachev, chairman of the foreign affairs committee of the parliament's upper house, said Wednesday that the wording of the permission granted to Putin "takes into account that the operational situation could demand various courses of action."

"I don't rule out any scenarios for the simple reason that trying to resolve the problem of IS in just one segment is impossible, realising that those whom the Syrians are hunting down with our help could crawl away across some virtual border," Kosachev told Interfax on Wednesday.

© 2015 AFP

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