Russia has blasted the US for urging other countries to deny port access to Russian oil tankers heading to Syria to deliver fuel to Moscow’s jets, which are on anti-terror mission in the Arab country.
Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov on Thursday denounced the US call as an attempt to hamper Moscow’s attempts to “fight international terrorism in Syria.”
The remarks came one day after US State Department spokesman Mark Toner said that regional countries should bar Syria-bound Russian tanker ships from their ports as fuel will be used in Russia’s anti-terror air raids.
“While the decision to allow a port call is a national determination, we believe that states in the region should not support any Russian tanker ship carrying fuel to be used in ongoing airstrikes… in Syria,” Toner said.
Elsewhere in his comments, Konashenkov said that Washington’s call intended to “conceal the failures of the US policy” in Syria.
He further stressed that Moscow has achieved much more with its campaign in Syria than the US-led coalition purportedly fighting the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group.
Syria has been hit by deadly foreign-sponsored militancy since March 2011. Russia has been conducting airstrikes against Daesh and other terror outfits in the Middle Eastern country at the Damascus government’s request since last September.
Earlier this week, an unidentified intelligence source with a European Union government told Reuters that in October at least two Russian-flagged ships had delivered 20,000 metric tons of jet fuel – worth around $9 million – to Syria through EU waters.
“The jet fuel shipments from these vessels have played a vital role in maintaining Russian airstrikes in the region,” the source said.
A separate unnamed shipping source also noted that the Russian ships visited Cypriot and Greek ports before delivering fuel to Syria.
An EU Council regulation, which was introduced two years ago, bans jet fuel supply to Syria from the EU territories.