Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday described the US-led war on Iraq as a "serious political mistake" and called upon the United States to immediately stop the war.
The US-led military campaign was launched in breach of international law and the UN Charter, Putin told top government officials at an security meeting in the Kremlin.
"Russia demands the swiftest end to military action," he said. "The military action against Iraq is a big political mistake."
Putin reiterated that there was no need to wage war against Iraq because the country was a weak state and would not pose any threat to its neighbors and other countries.
He called for an immediate return to diplomatic solution to theIraq issue within the UN framework, adding that the United Nations must be respected and play a pivotal role in solving the problem.
"If we allow international law to be replaced by the right of might, under which the strong is always right and has the right tochoose the means to achieve his goals without limits, then one of the main principles of international law, the principle of the inviolability of the sovereignty of states, will be thrown into question," the president said.
Russia, a veto-wielding permanent member of the UN Security Council, had repeatedly voiced opposition to any military action against Iraq and called for continuous weapons inspections in the country. Putin had previously warned that war would be a "mistake"and could jeopardize world security.
The State Duma, lower house of the parliament, Thursday gave preliminary approval to a draft resolution that appealed for a special UN General Assembly session on Iraq.
The resolution called on UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and the UN Security Council "to urgently assess the military operationlaunched by the US and its allies and do everything to settle the Iraq crisis peacefully."
The war with Iraq, which had caused casualties and destruction of infrastructure in the country, would undermine the system of international relations and pose a threat to international stability, the Duma said in a statement.