Air strikes illegal: Yeltsin

Moscow: (South News 21 Dec)-Russian President Boris Yeltsin today branded US-British air strikes against Iraq an "illegal and senseless" act that "complicated the resolution of the Iraqi problem," Interfax news agency reported.

"The illegal and senseless military action of the United States and Great Britain is over," Mr Yeltsin said. "A complete assessment has yet to be carried out of the negative political impact of these bombardments, not to mention the casualties among the civilian population," he said.

"But it is now clear that the use of force has complicated the resolution of the Iraqi problem.

"Common sense has prevailed. Now the international community has to draw serious conclusions from these tragic events," Mr Yeltsin said.

Mr Yeltsin had already condemned of the US-British air raids on Iraq, describing the decision to strike without the backing of the Security Council "where Russia has a veto" as a violation of the UN charter.

His comments broke a stony silence after four days of air strikes which had triggered a crisis between Russia and its western partners amid dark warnings from Moscow that its relations with the US could "seriously suffer".