Russia Blasts Washington Over Iraq Collision

The Foreign Ministry on Wednesday said a U.S. armored vehicle hit a Russian diplomatic car in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad and demanded that the United States investigate.

Three Russian diplomats suffered bruises when the U.S. military vehicle swerved into the car, causing it to nearly overturn as they drove from the Russian Embassy in Baghdad's Green Zone to the airport, the ministry said in a statement.

"Russia has issued tough protests in Baghdad and Washington, questioning the intentional nature of the U.S. military's action, and demanded an investigation into what happened and punishment for those guilty," the statement said.

A U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad said the allegations would be investigated.

"The press desk hasn't heard anything about this incident, and at this time we don't have any operational reports to indicate that it happened," the press office said in e-mailed comments.

The Foreign Ministry statement said the incident occurred a week ago when a three-car Russian convoy was being overtaken by a line of five U.S. vehicles, one of which suddenly shifted sideways, injuring the diplomats.

"It was an unexplained maneuver by the American armored personnel carrier that created a serious threat to the lives of Russian citizens," the ministry said.

Russia opposed the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 but has since backed efforts to stabilize the volatile situation there.

Two years ago, Moscow complained that Baghdad had become "an arena for terrorists" after the death of four Russian Embassy employees who had been kidnapped in Baghdad in May 2006.

On Wednesday, the Foreign Ministry said that under United Nations mandates, the U.S. military is responsible for the safety of diplomats working in Baghdad. It said it may seek damages for the effect the incident had on its staff.