This week, State Department spokesman John Kirby warned that if Russia doesn’t cooperate with the U.S. in Syria, Moscow could be in danger of a terror attack.
“Extremists and extremists groups will continue to exploit the vacuums that are there … which will include, no question, attacks against Russian interests, perhaps even Russian cities, and Russia will continue to send troops home in body bags,” he said.
Officials at the Russian Foreign and Defense Ministries responded, saying that sounded a lot like a threat.
“We can’t assess those statements as anything else but a call, a directive for action,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.
Russian Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov went further, calling the U.S. officials remarks the most honest “confession by the U.S. side so far that the whole ‘opposition’ ostensibly fighting a ‘civil war’ in Syria is a U.S.-controlled international terrorist alliance.”
“What makes Kirby’s statement particularly shocking is that the scale of direct U.S. influence on terrorists’ activity is global and reaches as far as Russia,” he said.
U.S. officials have pushed Russia to halt bombing campaigns in Syria aimed at helping the Assad regime regain control of the nation.
Washington would instead like to embark on joint air raids to knock out terrorist factions within the country— but Russian officials maintain that the U.S. refuses to recognize rebels it has aided as terrorists despite actions proving they are.
“Our colleagues from Washington have tried to cover up their inability to fulfill their own obligations with verbal attacks on Russia,” President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Thursday, adding that Russia will only continue talks with the U.S. on the matter if officials “exclude even a hint at threatening our military and Russian citizens.”