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ROME, December 13. /TASS/. The scale of Turkey’s military presence in northern Iraq cannot be justified by the tasks of training any local groups, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said on Sunday.
"We think that Turkey’s actions in northern Iraq are illegal. It is an invasion into a neighboring state," he said. "Moreover, the scale of these actions cannot be justified by any training-related argument."
The Russian diplomat said that Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavasoglu had also taken part in the Rome conference on Libya. However he said he had had no bilateral contacts with the Turkish foreign minister on the sidelines of the conference.
On Saturday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had a telephone conversation with his Iraqi counterpart Ibrahim al-Jafari to express support to the sovereignty of that country in the context of Turkey’s illegal deployment of its military contingent in that country. "The Russian side expressed resolute and principled position in support of Iraq’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and to the actions the Iraqi authorities are taking in this situation in conformity with international law and the United Nations Charter," the Russian foreign ministry said.