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Moscow calls international community’s reaction to liberation of Palmyra strange

March 31, 2016, 16:25 UTC+3

"There was an attempt to belittle the role of antiterrorism efforts of Damascus and Moscow," Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova points out

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© Valery Sharifulin/TASS

MOSCOW, March 31. /TASS/. The international community has shown a belated and not always proper reaction to liberation of Palmyra from terrorists, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Thursday.

"The reaction of the entire international community to the liberation of Palmyra was belated. There is an impression that it was a surprise for everyone. And of course it seemed to us not always appropriate," the diplomat said.

"There was an attempt to belittle the role of antiterrorism efforts of Damascus and Moscow," she said.

In her words, the West has no interest in liberating Syria from terrorists.

"Blocking a greeting on the occasion of Palmyra’s liberation at the United Nations Security Council is something new," she said.

It shows that the West is fighting terrorists in Syria exclusively in pursuit of its own selfish political interests and is not concerned with Syria’s liberation from terrorists, she added.

Zakharova said it would be inconvenient for Russia’s Western partners to talk about the protection of cultural values under these circumstances.

"It is a geopolitical game. All that [the refusal to welcome the liberation of Palmyra - TASS] surprised and disappointed us," the Russian diplomat stressed.

Syrian media reported early Sunday morning that the government troops had liberated the ancient town of Palmyra, which is on the UNESCO World Heritage list, located 215 km (133.5 miles) from Damascus and started mine-clearing in the streets of the town.

The ceasefire regime took effect in Syria on February 27. An hour before, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution supporting a cessation of hostilities. The document drafted by Russia and the United States was backed by all 15 Security Council member states.

The ceasefire regime does not cover the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist organizations as well as other groups ruled terrorist by the Security Council.

Russia’s Aerospace Forces started delivering pinpoint strikes in Syria at facilities of the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist organizations, which are banned in Russia, on September 30, 2015, on a request from Syrian President Bashar Assad.

On March 14, 2016, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered to start, from March 15, withdrawing the main part of the Russian Aerospace Forces’ group from Syria. Putin said the tasks set before the military "have been fulfilled on the whole." Russian Deputy Defense Minister Nikolai Pankov said strikes on terrorists will continue to be delivered.

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