'I saw the terrorist attack in New York on September 11, 2001, as an aggressive act and a challenge to all humanity.' This was announced by former president of the USSR Mikhail Gorbachev in a radio interview with Echo Moskvi today. He said he immediately sent his condolences to the US president. Mr Gorbachev believes the support of many world leaders 'helped the American population come to terms with this tragedy.'
In Mr Gorbachev's opinion, the tragedy in New York marked the beginning of a new era for the American people. 'They felt invulnerable before September 11 and this has changed now,' he explained. 'The most important step taken by the world community in the wake of this disaster was the formation of a genuine anti-terrorism coalition. The desire to confront terrorism also affected the work of the UN,' he stressed. He pointed out that the Security Council worked continuously in September 2001 to create a legal foundation for the work of this coalition.
Mr Gorbachev believes the invasion of Afghanistan was justified as this was the main centre of international terrorism. 'However, when the military operation in Afghanistan was still only beginning I warned that the problem of terrorism could not be resolved by force alone,' he added. 'If there continues to be such a high level of poverty in the world and half the world's population has to survive on USD 1-2 a day, it will be very easy for international terrorists to find new recruits.' However, in Mr Gorbachev's opinion, the US government's decision to wage war on Iraq without a UN mandate and despite international opposition 'meant that pro-American euphoria was replaced by anti-Americanism.'
The Ilyushin 20 (Il-20) military electronic reconnaissance aircraft of the Russian Air Force with 14 servicemen on board that went off radar screens off the coast of Syria was shot down by Syrian air defense systems over the Mediterranean Sea