MOSCOW: Russia on Friday hit back at US criticism over Syria, accusing Washington of lacking trust in Moscow and not behaving as a true partner.
“The United States sometimes don’t behave as partners when dealing with us on Syrian issues and are not always ready to negotiate on equal grounds,” Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told TASS news agency. “I think Russia’s policy in Syria is wholly logical, coherent and sets goals that, for the most part, are shared by most members of the international community,” Ryabkov said, lamenting that Washington demonstrates a “lack of trust in our foreign policy.” US President Barack Obama said Thursday that Russia risked casting itself as an “irresponsible actor” on the world stage particularly due to its actions in Syria’s Aleppo in recent weeks.
As reports surfaced of a Russian raid killing two Syrian children and wounding dozens at a refugee camp near Aleppo, Obama said “Russia’s direct involvement in these actions over the last several weeks raises very serious questions about their commitment” to ending hostilities.
“I’m not confident that we can trust the Russians or Vladimir Putin,” Obama said in a rare personal rebuke of the Russian leader who had thrown his support behind Bashar al-Assad last year by sending in the Russian air force to support the Syrian government’s ground operation.
Ryabkov on Friday said that “there is a serious deficit of trust in Russian-American relations.”
“We see a deliberate focus on undermining the foundation of our relations over the past years,” he said, listing “illegitimate” sanctions, “military pressure” through NATO and even arrests of Russians on US orders in third countries.
“We believe that trust in Russian-American relations can only be restored if colleagues in Washington approach the entire bilateral agenda honestly and responsibly,” he said.