Russia Hedges Bets Over Cheonan Sinking

      June 21, 2010 08:38

      Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Friday called for a "thorough investigation" of the sinking of the South Korean Navy corvette Cheonan before taking any action against North Korea.

      Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, Medvedev said, "Although only one version has been broadly circulated, we should not take it immediately for granted. A thorough investigation is needed."

      The sinking, which claimed the lives of 46 South Korean sailors, was "tragic," he said, adding that the "hypothesis" that it was torpedoed by "a neighboring country" -- i.e. North Korea -- is one of the possible scenarios.

      "As soon as the results are obvious and become public knowledge, we can talk about punishing the guilty... I mean a certain state or some other forces," he said.

      A team of Russian experts has already reviewed the investigation in South Korea and is currently preparing a report, he added. Medvedev said he spoke to President Lee Myung-bak by telephone on May 25, when he expressed sympathy over the sinking and stressed the need for a thorough investigation.

      Commenting on North Korea, he recounted his visit in 2000 as a member of a Russian delegation to what he called a "peculiar nation."

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