Angry With U.S., Moscow Raises Afghan Attack at UN

UNITED NATIONS -- Russia, at odds with the United States over Georgia, has tried unsuccessfully to push the UN Security Council to condemn U.S.-led air strikes in Afghanistan that killed dozens of civilians.

The Russian delegation drafted a statement that would say the council's 15 member states were "seriously concerned" about the U.S.-led coalition attacks on Aug. 22, which the UN mission in Afghanistan says killed 90 civilians, mostly children.

Russia and the United States are permanent members of the council with veto power, along with France, Britain and China.

The draft statement also says council members "deplore" the fact that this has happened before in Afghanistan.

"I think the Russians want to divert attention from Georgia and annoy the Americans," a diplomat said.

Russia's UN ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, declined to comment when asked whether the draft statement was linked to the Georgian crisis. "We hope it's going to be adopted by the council," he told reporters.

But Belgian Ambassador Jan Grauls, the current president of the Security Council, told reporters after a council meeting Tuesday that there was no agreement among council members on the Russian statement.

The U.S. military has opened an investigation of the incident, after first saying it was unaware of any civilian casualties in an air strike on a known Taliban commander that killed 30 militants.

Grauls said it would be preferable to wait for the results of the investigations before making any statements about what happened.

Russian and U.S. envoys at the United Nations have repeatedly exchanged insults and accusations in recent weeks on the issue of Georgia, which Russian troops invaded earlier this month to thwart a Georgian attempt to retake the separatist region of South Ossetia.

Diplomats said the council did not discuss Russia's decision on Tuesday to recognize the independence of South Ossetia and Georgia's other breakaway region, Abkhazia.