US apologizes to Russia in pilot case

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The United States said Thursday it has apologized to Russia for not giving prompt consular access to a pilot detained on smuggling charges, saying it hit the wrong number on a fax machine.

"We have apologized to Russia," State Department spokesman Philip Crowley told reporters.

Russia had vented fury over the case of cargo-plane pilot Konstantin Yaroshenko, accusing the United States of "kidnapping" him from Liberia and denying him consular access.

Crowley said that a US official had simply punched in the wrong number when trying to send a fax to Russian diplomats about the arrest, with the information going to another country's embassy.

© 2010 AFP

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