On Tuesday, Russia claimed that a U.S. policy change to ease restrictions on arming Syrian rebels has opened the way for deliveries of shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles, citing that it could threaten Russian forces in Syria, as reported by Reuters.
Last year, Moscow launched a campaign of air strikes in Syria to help President Bashar al-Assad and his forces retake territory lost to rebels, of which some were supported by the U.S.
President Obama, who has often vocalized his criticism of Russia’s intervention in Syria, signed off the annual defense policy bill last week.
In a report put out by Reuters, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, stated:
“Washington has placed its bets on supplying military aid to anti-government forces who don’t differ than much from blood thirsty head choppers. Now, the possibility of supplying them with weapons, including mobile anti-aircraft complexes, has been written into this new bill.”
“In the administration of B. Obama they must understand that any weapons handed over will quickly end up in the hands of jihadists,” she added, implying that is what the Obama Administration was counting on.
The U.S. decision was a direct threat to the Russian air force, to other Russian military personnel, and Russia’s embassy.
“We therefore view the step as a hostile act.”
Zakharova went as far as blaming the Obama administration for attempting to “put a mine” under the incoming administration of President-elect Donald Trump by attempting to get it to continue what she called Washington’s “anti-Russian line.”
In the past several weeks, Obama and U.S. intelligence officials have repeatedly accused Russia of interfering with the U.S. election by hacking Democratic Party accounts, in an effort to help Trump get elected.
In response to the recent accusations, Zakharova stated, “The current occupants of the White House imagined that they could pressure Russia. Let’s hope that those who replace them will be wiser.”
Throughout Trump’s campaign, he was very outspoken about his intentions to improve relations with Moscow and spoke highly of Vladimir Putin. In fact, just last week Trump and Putin discussed nuclear weapons, making good on his promise to make amends with Russia.
H/T and photo credit: Reuters
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