Russia, whose previous statements have opposed any use of force, also increased the pressure on the Iraqi president before Bush’s speech. President Putin, speaking in the Ukraine, said that any action against Iraq must be approved by the UN Security Council, but: ‘If Iraq begins to make problems for the inspectors, then Russia could change its position and agree with the US on new, tougher actions by the UN Security Council.’ White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said the same day that a second UN resolution authorising military action was ‘desirable, but not mandatory’.