#9 - JRL 7139 Russia denies Saddam hiding in its Baghdad embassy April 9, 2003 MOSCOW (AFP) - Russia has denied reports that it was sheltering missing Iraqi President Saddam Hussein in its embassy in Baghdad. "This type of claim absolutely does not and cannot correspond with reality," Russian foreign ministry spokesman Alexander Yakovenko said in a statement. "This is just another attempt to put our Baghdad embassy under threat," he said. The speaker of the Lebanese parliament Nabih Berri suggested earlier Wednesday that Saddam could have found refuge in Russia's Baghdad embassy, as US forces took control of the Iraqi capital. "Saddam Hussein could have found refuge in the Russian embassy in Baghdad," Berri told journalists, without elaborating. A convoy carrying Russian ambassador to Iraq (news - web sites) Vladimir Titorenko, along with around two dozen staff members and journalists, came under fire Sunday as it headed out of Baghdad towards Syria. "Any attack against our embassy will be considered as a serious violation of the Vienna convention on diplomatic priveldge and immunity," Yakovenko said. Titorenko has accused US forces of deliberately shooting at the convoy. Berri pointed out that Titorenko had returned to Baghdad from Syria -- allegedly to bring out an embassy driver wounded in the incident and a diplomat who stayed to look after him -- following a visit to Moscow by US National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice). Rumors circulated ahead of the start of the US-led war in Iraq last month that Russia was helping negotiate a deal with Saddam, offering him exile in Russia if he agreed to step down from power to avert war.