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Lavrov: Moscow Helping Fight IS Militants In Iraq

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says Moscow is helping fight against Islamist State (IS) militants in Iraq with the consent of the Baghdad government.

Speaking in Finland, where Russia formally took over the presidency of the Barents Euro-Arctic Council on October 14, Lavrov said it was "necessary to support the cooperation between the Iraqi government" and Iraq's Kurdistan region in the fight against terrorism.

Lavrov said Russia was "doing it with the consent of the government" in Iraq.

He said a new intelligence center in Baghdad currently staffed by Russian, Iraqi, Iranian, and Syrian officials remained open to all interested parties.

A senior lawmaker in Iraq's parliament said on October 13 that Iraq had begun bombing IS militants with help from that intelligence center.

Before leaving Moscow for Finland on October 14, Lavrov said no country besides Syria had asked Russia for direct military support -- but Russia was closely monitoring the situation in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Based on reporting by Reuters and Interfax