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Russia Accuses Washington Over Iraq Road Crash

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- Russia said a U.S. armored vehicle slammed into a Russian diplomatic car in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, and has demanded the United States investigate.

Three Russian diplomats suffered bruises when the U.S. military vehicle swerved into the car, causing it to nearly overturn, as they drove from the Russian Embassy in Baghdad's Green Zone to the airport, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

"Russia has issued tough protests in Baghdad and Washington, questioning the intentional nature of the U.S. military's action, and demanded an investigation into what happened and punishment for those guilty," the statement said.

A U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad said the allegations would be investigated.

Diplomatic ties between the United States and Russia are at a post-Cold War low after a succession of rows over Kosovo's independence, Russia's war with Georgia in August, and U.S. plans to station elements of a missile shield in Europe.

The Russian statement said the incident occurred a week ago, when a three-car Russian convoy was being overtaken by a line of five U.S. vehicles, one of which suddenly shifted sideways, injuring the diplomats. The convoy sped on, the statement said.

"It was an unexplained maneuver by the American armored personnel carrier that created a serious threat to the lives of Russian citizens," the Foreign Ministry said.

Russia opposed the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 but has since backed efforts to stabilize the volatile situation there.

The Foreign Ministry said that under United Nations mandates, the U.S. military is responsible for the safety of diplomats working in Baghdad. It said it may seek damages for the effect the incident had on its staff.