Russia is the key partner of the United States in its drive against terrorism, said US Ambassador to Russia Alexander Vershbow during a press conference in Moscow. According to him, the terror acts in the United States on September 11 resulted in "an unprecedented alliance" between our countries. The ambassador stated that the anti-terrorist coalition has three primary objectives - to punish those responsible for the terror acts of September 11, to destroy the Al-Qaeda terrorist network and to make Afghanistan stop being a terrorist shelter. He stressed that the present military operation is part of a long-term campaign targeted at total destruction of terrorists. We will not succeed if we do not involve all the nations in the anti-terrorist struggle and Russia is our key-partner, the Ambassador said. He stated that the anti-terrorist operation would not be a success if the military action was not backed by the suppression of terrorists' financial sources. To do this, we need support of all countries worldwide. This is also refers to the unification of customs and border guard bodies of all states in order to stop the free movement of armaments and terrorists," Vershbow stated. Speaking about the possible use of the US ground force in the anti-terrorist operation! ! , the Ambassador said that he could not "give any details" adding that "the bombing raids were preparing the ground for a possible land operation." He also said that the United Sates is currently using its most advanced weapons in Afghanistan. These weapons allowed us to hit the Taliban targets, even the ones located deep under ground. In his words, the next phase of the operation may include intensive strikes and even commando raids as it has been previously stated by US President George W. Bush.
Russian small missile ships - the Grad Sviyazhsk and the Great Ustyug - set off for a mission to the Mediterranean Sea
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