Putin dismisses fears world on threshold of large-scale war
Saturday, September 22, 2001
MOSCOW -- Russian President Vladimir Putin dismissed fears yesterday that the world was on the threshold of a large-scale war because of a U.S. pledge to punish the terrorists behind the attacks on New York and Washington.
In an interview with Germany's ARD television station, part of which was shown on Russian networks, Mr. Putin said Russia's intelligence services were ready to work even more closely with the United States to fight terrorism.
"I believe there is no basis for the suggestion that mankind faces the danger of moving toward a large-scale military confrontation," the Russian leader said.
"I don't believe anything of this sort will happen. The leaders of the world's most prominent countries will not allow it. There should be no such danger."
His comments were made the day after U.S. President George W. Bush told his forces to be ready for action.
U.S. defence officials said yesterday that heavy bombers and elite troops were to move within striking distance of Afghanistan, where Osama bin Laden, key suspect in the devastating September 11 attacks, is believed to be hiding.
Mr. Putin said the world's leading nationswere determined to crack down on "terror and religious extremism."
"We are ready to co-operate with the United States in the fight against terrorism in the broadest possible way," he said.
Mr. Putin was among the first international leaders to offer Mr. Bush condolences and support after the attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center.
But it remains unclear what practical help -- military, intelligence or logistic -- Russia will give. He said Washington has made no concrete requests.