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Lavrov mocks UK army head’s anti-Russian statements

November 25, 1:18 UTC+3 LISBON

UK army chief, Gen. Mark Carleton-Smith, said on Saturday that Russia was a far bigger threat for his country than the Islamic State terrorist group

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LISBON, November 25. /TASS/. Commenting on the British army head’s warning that Russia posed a greater threat to his country than the Islamic State terrorist group, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov ironically expressed hope that London checks the appropriateness of such decisions.

"I heard about this statement. You know, we cannot stop anyone from demonstrating his intellectual or political skills," Lavrov said at a news conference in Portugal on Saturday. "We cannot influence the British government’s decisions as to whom they entrust with commanding their armed forces. But I hope they check such decisions for appropriateness."

The statement came as a response to UK army chief, Gen. Mark Carleton-Smith, who said on Saturday that Russia was a far bigger threat for his country than the Islamic State terrorist group (outlawed in Russia). In his first interview since taking office in June, the British general also said that Russia has already demonstrated its readiness to use force to protect its national interests and "has embarked on a systematic effort to explore and exploit Western vulnerabilities, particularly in some of the non-traditional areas of cyber, space, undersea warfare."

Meanwhile, the Russian embassy in London said Russia had made a serious contribution to the security of the United Kingdom and other Western countries by fighting the Islamic State terrorist group (outlawed in Russia). 

"The threat posed by ISIL to the UK has indeed decreased, and that to a large extent due to Russia’s efforts in Syria, which have been constantly hampered by London. In this sense, Russia has strengthened Britain’s security over the last several years," the Russian embassy replied. "This is not what we could say about the UK, which in recent years has together with the US initiated an aggression in Iraq, destroyed the statehood of Libya and committed an act of aggression against Syria last April by launching a massive missile attack on its territory under a manufactured pretext."

"The Conservative Government has de facto contributed little to the fight against terrorism," the statement reads.

The Russian embassy also said that London continued to increase dramatically its military expenditures in order to, as Secretary of State for Defense Gavin Williamson has once said, "be ready to fight in Mainland Europe, in the Middle or in the Far East.

"A striking example of the bellicose foreign policy of the UK is the deployment of British military contingents in Eastern Europe, near Russian borders," the embassy said.

"The message of General Carleton-Smith (in case it’s published correctly) that ‘as a result of the complete destruction of the geography of the so-called Caliphate, Britain and its allies need to focus their attention on Russia’ gives a detailed explanation of the current position of the British government. This constant search for a new enemy is not only a justification of Britain’s military spending but also its attempt to keep the role of an active participant in international processes, as it is seen in London," the statement reads.

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