Sunday, August 28, 2005

With friends like these...

For a supposed U.S. ally, Russia sure does some strange things sometimes:

MOSCOW -- Two U.S. senators visiting sites where weapons of mass destruction are being stored were held for several hours Sunday at a Siberian airport while trying to leave Russia, a U.S. Embassy spokesperson said.

Sens. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., and Barack Obama, D-Ill., were held at the airport in Perm but allowed to leave after discussions between U.S. and Russian officials, the embassy spokesperson said on condition of anonymity.

Lugar, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Obama spent three days in Russia visiting sites where warheads are stored before destruction under the U.S.-funded Comprehensive Threat Reduction program.

The spokesperson did not have information on the nature of the dispute that resulted in the senators being held. Telephone calls to the Russian border guard service and Foreign Ministry were not answered Sunday evening.

The spokesperson also said Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., was delayed in departing from another Russian airport Sunday because of documentation problems.

According to my trusted sources, the Bush administration was engaged in heated negotiations to let Russia keep Obama and Hagel in exchange for a couple of those neat little matryoshka dolls.

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