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Russian MP says US official’s call for strikes against Assad ‘gesture of despair’

June 17, 2016, 15:37 UTC+3 ST.PETERSBURG

According to a lawmaker, Russia’s military and air operation in Syria upset a lot of plans of the Americans

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© Vadim Savitsky/Russian Defense Ministry's Press Office/TASS

ST.PETERSBURG, June 17. /TASS/. Senior Russian lawmaker Alexei Pushkov said the call of US State Department officials on the Obama administration for strikes against the forces of Bashar Assad in Syria is a "gesture of despair."

"The scenario in Syria is developing not the way the United States wanted to, Russia’s participation in resolving the crisis and in particular, Russia’s military and air operation upset a lot of plans of the Americans," Pushkov, who chairs the lower house’s foreign affairs committee, told TASS on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF).

"So, this is a kind of an ultimatum signaling the acknowledgement that the US is unable to achieve its goal by diplomatic and political means and so there is a need to switch to military methods," Pushkov said. "If this recommendation is adopted, and I hope that it won’t be adopted, then this will be just the acknowledgement that the American diplomacy in Syria has failed," the MP stressed.

The Wall Street Journal wrote on Thursday that "more than 50 State Department diplomats have signed an internal memo sharply critical of the Obama administration’s policy in Syria, urging the United States to carry out military strikes against the government of President Bashar al-Assad to stop its persistent violations of a cease-fire in the country’s five-year-old civil war." The New York Times confirmed the information.

The internal memo reflects the positions of a "radical wing" in the State Department and in the Obama administration that insists on the military operation against Syria, Pushkov said.

"This is a signal to us, a warning to Assad and the international community that there are people in the US who call to shift the fire from the Islamic State to the government of Assad," he stressed.

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