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Putin: No Troops, But Other Help Offered


Russian President Vladimir Putin says his country supports the United States in building a coalition to fight terrorism in the wake of the attacks in New York and Washington. Mr. Putin also says he does not believe the world is in for a protracted war in Central Asia.

President Putin says Russia "will not get in the way" of any military action undertaken in response to the recent terrorist attacks. He says Russia, the United States, and many other countries must work together to eradicate what he calls "the evil of terrorism."

The Russian leader says Moscow has not received any specific request for military aid from the United States for possible action against Afghanistan, where suspected terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden is believed to be hiding.

Mr. Putin says while Russia will not take part in any direct military attack, it has been sharing intelligence it has about terrorist groups.

The Russian military has extensive knowledge of Afghanistan gained during the long war Soviet troops fought there during the 1980s.

Mr. Putin made his comments to German media outlets as he prepares to visit Germany next week.

In other comments, the Russian leader says he warned U.S. officials about the terrorist threat posed by Mr. bin Laden and his network a long time ago. He says Russian troops found instructions about how to fly Boeing jets in the possession of an Arab mercenary who was captured in Chechnya.

Mr. Putin has long maintained that Russia is fighting what he calls "terrorist groups" in the breakaway region of Chechnya.

However, Western countries have long criticized Russia's conduct in its fight against separatist groups there because of reports of widespread human rights violations.

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