Moscow, Russia | AFP |
Moscow on Monday slammed the United States and Britain for accusing Russia of “barbarism” and war crimes in Syria as Russian and Syrian warplanes continued to bomb rebel-held areas of Aleppo.
“We note the overall unacceptable tone and rhetoric of the representatives of the United Kingdom and the United States, which can damage and harm our relations,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
Moscow and Damascus were repeatedly accused of war crimes at Sunday’s emergency meeting of the UN Security Council to demand that Russia rein in its long-standing ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
“In short, it is difficult to deny, that Russia is partnering with the Syrian regime to carry out war crimes,” British Ambassador Matthew Rycroft said, adding that incendiary munitions “indiscriminate in their reach” were being used against Aleppo civilians.
Rycroft added that Moscow and the Syrian regime had “unleashed a new hell” on the battered Syrian city.
US Ambassador Samantha Power meanwhile accused Moscow of “barbarism”.
At least 124 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in the bombardment of rebel-held eastern Aleppo since the army on Thursday announced an operation to take the country’s second city, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
Russia’s ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, on Sunday accused Washington of failing to convince armed opposition groups it supports to distance themselves from the Al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front and abide by a short-lived ceasefire brokered earlier this month by Russia and the United States.
Churkin however said that reviving the ceasefire was still a goal that Moscow could pursue if it was part of a “collective” effort on all sides.
Peskov said Monday that the ceasefire has “little effect” but the Kremlin is not ready to bury it quite yet.
“Moscow is not losing the hope and political will to use maximum efforts to reach the point of political settlement in Syria,” Peskov said Monday. “So far it’s been hard.”
Aleppo, divided since mid-2012 between government control in the west and rebel control in the east, has seen some of its worst fighting in years over the last week, raising widespread international concern.