Russian FM spox: US talk of ‘attacks in Russia, body bags, downing jets’ sounds like ‘get ’em’ call
“Extremist groups will continue to exploit the vacuums that are there in Syria to expand their operations, which could include attacks against Russian interests, perhaps even Russian cities. Russia will continue to send troops home in body bags, and will continue to lose resources, perhaps even aircraft,” US State Department spokesperson John Kirby told reporters at Wednesday’s press briefing, adding that if the war in Syria continues “more Russian lives will be lost, more Russian aircraft will be shot down.”
Kirby’s words didn’t go unnoticed by the Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson.
“And those [acts of terrorism] will be perpetrated by ‘moderate’ [Syrian opposition groups]?” Zakharova asked in her Facebook post. “Just the ones that Washington has been unable to separate from Al-Nusra for as long as six months?”
“[What about] Terrorist attacks in France, America and other countries; the beheadings of people of all nationalities by Islamic State militants in Syria – is this all kind of a different paradigm? Perhaps another ‘parallel reality?’
“Don’t you think that such ventriloquism about ‘body bags,’ ‘terrorist attacks in Russian cities’ and ‘loss of aircraft,’ sounds more like a ‘get ’em’ command, rather than a diplomatic comment?” Zakharova concluded.
On Wednesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry held a telephone conversation during which the latter threatened to halt all cooperation between Moscow and Washington, aimed at stopping Syria’s civil war, unless Moscow and Damascus ended the current attack on East Aleppo.
“We are working through steps that we might have to take to begin to suspend our engagement with Russia on Syria. We haven’t taken those steps yet,” Kirby said. “The message to the [Russian] Foreign Minister today was that we are perfectly willing and able to move forward on those steps that would end with the suspension of US-Russia bi-lateral engagement in Syria,” he added.
Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said on Thursday that the US statements on the suspension of cooperation with Russia on Syria amount to blackmail.
“It’s a policy of threats and blackmail, aimed at imposing solutions favorable to US and its clients,” Ryabkov told RIA Novosti. “It’s impossible to reach a settlement and stabilization on such basis. But there’s no winning love by force. We have our own approach and principles,” he added.
Lavrov told Kerry that the US has long promised to separate the rebels from terrorists, citing a recent interview of an Al-Nusra commander, revealing how the group is receiving outside support, including American weapons. He also told Kerry that a number of US-backed groups are working side by side with the Al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Nusra Front.
During the press briefing, Kirby said the US has “influence over some of the [rebel] groups but not all.”
“There are other nations that have influence. We have admitted that not all opposition groups on every single day have abided by it, and we have continued to work with them on that,” Kirby pointed out.