Putin Disputes WMD Intelligence Claims
"Putin Demands Proof over Iraqi Weapons" -- Michael White in The Guardian, 10/12/02:
Vladimir Putin yesterday rejected Anglo-American claims that Saddam Hussein already possesses weapons of mass destruction and told Tony Blair that the best way to resolve the conflict of evidence is not war, but the return of UN inspectors to Iraq.
With a tense Mr Blair alongside him at his dacha near Moscow, the Russian president took the unusual step of citing this week's sceptical CIA report on the Iraqi military threat to assert: "Fears are one thing, hard facts are another". . . .
After confirming his foreign ministry's assessment that No 10's Iraqi dossier "could be seen as a propagandistic step" to sway public opinion, he made it plain.
"Russia does not have in its possession any trustworthy data that supports the existence of nuclear weapons or any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and we have not received any such information from our partners as yet. This fact has also been supported by the information sent by the CIA to the US Congress."