Russia's Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov is against Russian servicemen taking part in a peacekeeping operation in Afghanistan. As the head of the military establishment stressed in an interview with journalists, Russia "has from the start declared clearly and unambiguously" that it is not going to send any military contingents to Afghanistan under any flag whatever, including the UN flag. Ivanov said he was "far from sure" that the decision to send a peacekeeping contingent to Afghanistan will be translated into life. Afghanistan is not Kosovo, and the Russians through their sad historical experience know that country well. "For us a presence in any form of Russian servicemen in Afghanistan is tantamount to, for example, the presence of American soldiers in Vietnam," Ivanov said. He is convinced that a presence of Russian servicemen in Afghanistan does not meet Russia's national interests.
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