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MOSCOW, November 9. /TASS/. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has insisted that in carrying out strikes in Syria Russia has been taking utmost precautions to prevent or at least minimize harm to the civilian population.
"I believe that in principle it is immoral and counter-productive to try to use this or that humanitarian tragedy for scoring geopolitical points," Lavrov said. "We’ve been able to see this happen in relation to processes afoot in the Middle East and in North Africa, in Syria or Iraq. Double standards are quite obvious here."
"As for the so-called ‘collateral damage’ - a term the United States invented to excuse civilian casualties that occur in the process of military campaigns, we have invariably stated, and our Defense Ministry did so, too, that in carrying out strikes the necessary precautions are always taken to minimize (ideally to prevent) harm to civilian facilities, let alone civilian population," Lavrov said."When we hear charges addressed to us to the effect this or that civilian facility has been attacked by the Russian aerospace group, we always insist on seeing the facts," he said. "In many cases, when this or that country or non-governmental organization claimed that our strikes destroyed this or that facility, school or a childcare center, the Defense Ministry repeatedly presented documentary evidence showing the charges had nothing to do with the reality.
"There have already been many cases when some or other states or NGOs claimed that a particular facility, a school or a kindergarten was allegedly destroyed because of our strikes. The Defense Ministry has numerously presented documented evidence that this has nothing to do with reality," Lavrov said.
"Of course, we will be prepared to investigate any concrete facts, but nobody has been able to present such concrete facts to this day," he said.
The diplomat has accused the West of covering up for the Al-Nusra Front terrorist group apparently seeking to derive some benefits from it.
According to the minister, Moscow drew attention of its counterparts to the current situation in eastern Aleppo where the Al-Nusra Front does not allow civilians to leave the city via humanitarian corridors using people as a human shield.
"Our Western partners are not rushing to speak against this practice," Lavrov said. "This shows that the West is somehow ready to fight against ISIL (former name of Islamic State terrorist group) but still shields Al Nusra. Apparently, it continues counting on this illegal group," he said.
"We want the efforts of the international community on overcoming the crises in Syria, Iraq and any other hotspots to be sincere, fair and not accompanied by attempts to score any geopolitical points," Lavrov stressed.