‘West frustrated with our success in Aleppo’ – Russian UK envoy to RT
The statement by the Russian envoy to the UK, Aleksandr Yakovenko, followed his meeting with British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. On Thursday, Johnson summoned Yakovenko and his Iranian colleague, Hamid Baedinejad, separately to talk about British “concerns” over the situation in Syria and Moscow’s and Tehran’s actions there.
During the talks, Yakovenko laid out Russia’s position on the Syrian crisis, stressing that Moscow is not seeking “regime change,” but is focused on “fighting terrorism,” the ambassador told RT. Commenting on the lack of positive reaction from the West on the liberation of eastern Aleppo, Yakovenko noted that London and its Western partners simply did not expect positive results from the Russian-backed mission.
"It's a little bit of frustration with the situation because nobody expected that first of all, we are going to deal quite effectively with the humanitarian situation. I think nobody expected in London that would be very effective with the gunmen who are leaving Aleppo," Yakovenko told RT.
On Friday, the Russian Reconciliation Center in Syria announced a complete liberation of eastern Aleppo while the Syrian army is targeting “isolated pockets of militant resistance.”
From the start of the operation, some 3,400 militants surrendered to the government forces (around 3,000 were later amnestied) while thousands more were allowed to leave, the Russian Defense Ministry announced. Thousands of people also returned to their homes in liberated areas and got humanitarian assistance.
"So basically, the British have to look at the situation a little bit from the different angle, from the angle of the realities and the facts," Yakovenko said. Despite the liberation of eastern Aleppo, the UK and the US have stopped short of cheering the success and humanitarian aid deliveries by Russia, saying Moscow in fact “prevented” aid supplies.
Yet, that view was countered by the International Red Cross and the UN, saying Moscow gave “around the clock help” to the organizations on the ground. The Russian ambassador noted that the UK on its part did not even provide proposals on the aid deliveries.
“I said that we [Russia] would welcome the humanitarian aid from the UK, especially for the people, for the civilians of Aleppo… Unfortunately, we did not receive any proposals from the United Kingdom.” He stressed though that he is “quite sure” that London will change its attitude in the time to come.
The ambassador went on to say that in fact, it’s the UK and the EU who backed the sanctions against the Syrian government, making aid deliveries hardly possible.
"That's not about the government in Syria, it's about the humanitarian story," Yakovenko said. That’s why Russia is “calling on the UK to lift the sanctions, to help the people, to be a little more generous."
The ambassador stressed that it’s also crucial to have a “global ceasefire” for Syria and to continue peace efforts to settle the long year crisis. Speaking at a news conference in Japan, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that aside from the Geneva peace process, separate talks between the so-called moderate opposition and the Syrian government are set to take place in Kazakhstan’s capital, Astana.