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#2 - JRL 7125
Kremlin warns anti-US sentiments growing in Russia
MOSCOW (AFP) Mar 31, 2003

The Kremlin said Monday that President Vladimir Putin had received more than 6,000 messages in support of his firm stance against the Iraqi war and warned that anti-US sentiments were growing in both Russia and abroad. Putin's official Internet site published snippets of what the Kremlin said were letters written to the president from Russian regions and some 25 other countries over the past weeks.

The Kremlin said most thanked Putin for putting up a resistance to the US-led war.

"The correspondence confirms a sharp stance against the policies taken by (US President George W.) Bush and (British Prime Minister Tony) Blair," the Kremlin statement said.

It added that the letters confirmed the growth of "anti-American sentiments" around the world.

The comments were reportedly sent to the Kremlin through the Internet and regular mail.

The Kremlin said many of the messages also urged Russia to step up spending on the military in light of the Iraqi war.

The unusual Kremlin statement was issued amid a toughening in Moscow rhetoric on a war that Russia had opposed through the UN Security Council.

Bush and Putin are next due to meet each other in May in Russia's second city of Saint Petersburg during a 300-year anniversary celebration of Russia's former imperial capital.

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