Russia presses UN to report on Syria attack risks

By George Jahn

Associated Press

Published: Monday, Sept. 9 2013 7:35 a.m. MDT

Russia's President Vladimir Putin speaks during a media conference after a G-20 summit in St. Petersburg, Russia on Friday, Sept. 6, 2013.

Alexander Zemlianichenko, Associated Press

Enlarge photo»

VIENNA — Diplomats say that Russia is pressing the U.N. atomic agency to report on the nuclear risk of air strikes on Syria in efforts to stave off possible U.S. attack.

Two diplomats said Russian envoy Grigory Berdennikov urged action on an earlier request in comments Monday to the International Atomic Energy Agency's 35-nation board.

A confidential letter from the Russian foreign ministry to IAEA chief Yukiya Amano obtained by The Associated Press Monday warns of the "catastrophic" consequences of a strike on a research reactor near Damascus.

The diplomats, who were inside the closed meeting, demanded anonymity because they were not authorized to report on the discussion.

The IAEA has said it is assessing Russia's request.

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