Emergency Situations Minister Sergei Shoigu said on 26 February that his ministry is ready to help refugees and displaced persons in the event of a U.S.-led military action against the regime of Iraqi President Hussein, nns.ru reported. Shoigu said Russia would participate in humanitarian operations in the region under the aegis of the United Nations. "If the UN asks us and our government approves the request, we will provide humanitarian assistance to the citizens of Iraq," Shoigu said. He added that the Emergency Situations Ministry is already participating in relief operations in the former Yugoslavia and Central Africa and has offered to assist CIS countries in evacuating their citizens from Iraq. RTR on 2 March reported the arrival in Moscow from Iraq of 150 members of the families of Russian diplomats and workers. Another 700 Russian and Belarusian citizens will be evacuated through safe corridors to Jordan and Syria in the event of a military action. An agreement to this effect has been reached with the U.S. government, RTR reported. VY
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