Moscow considers the permission to supply MANPADS to Syria in the new law on US defense spending to be a hostile move, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, said on Tuesday.
She noted that the transferred weapons would quickly end up in the hands of jihadists, and Washington must realize this. “Perhaps, they even expect this to happen, since they actually sponsor the Jabhat al-Nusra [terrorist group, outlawed in Russia – TASS], which is a unit of al Qaeda. This can hardly be called otherwise than aiding and abetting terrorists,” the diplomat went on to say.
“The relevant decision also poses a direct threat to aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Forces, other Russian military personnel and our Embassy in Syria that has been shelled repeatedly,” she said. “That is why we consider this to be a hostile move.”
“Instead of pooling efforts to counter rampaging extremists of every stripe and color, as we have suggested for a long time, Washington is staking on the provision of military aid to anti-government units, which differ little from bloody thugs,” the diplomat stated.
On December 23, US President Barack Obama signed into law a bill on the budget and expenditures of the US Department of Defense for the 2017 fiscal year. In particular, the law authorizes the Pentagon’s actions to supply MANPADS to the so-called Syrian armed opposition.