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Diplomat slams Malta’s ban on refueling Russian ships as part of PR war

November 10, 2016, 18:41 UTC+3 MOSCOW

A Russian diplomat believes Malta has banned Russian warships from refueling in its ports because it fell victim to the West’s information war

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© Marina Lystseva/TASS

MOSCOW, November 10 /TASS/. Malta has banned Russian warships from refueling in its ports because it fell victim to the West’s information war, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday.

"It is an attempt to exert pressure on all fronts and create a certain atmosphere in the information space. Countries, which do not have their own perspective on the situation and an independent foreign policy, are reading this information code and are engaged in open self-censorship not because of any outside pressure but on the basis of media publications for fear that anything may happen," Zakharova said.

"A statement by Malta’s Foreign Minister George Wella falls out of line with any diplomatic routine though he stated it many times that the decision was passed independently without any external pressure proceeding from the purposes, which our military pursue," the Russian diplomat said.

"The Maltese Foreign Ministry believes that the Russian military machine is committing atrocities in Syria, especially against women and children. These are the total victims of Western propaganda," the Russian Foreign Ministry stressed.

"It is an open secret what Russia is doing in Syria. Unlike the Western coalition, we issue regular detailed reports," the diplomat said.

In an interview with the Times of Malta newspaper in October, the Maltese foreign minister banned a group of Russian naval ships led by The Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier from refueling in the country’s ports.

Touching upon Russia-NATO relations, Zakharova said that the date of a regular meeting of the Russia-NATO Council would be set after the meeting’s agenda was agreed on.

"Consultations on the agenda of the forthcoming meeting are still under way in Brussels," the Russian diplomat said. "Hopefully, we are going to continue our meaningful discussion of issues, which we considered during our previous meetings in April and July this year," Zakharova emphasized.

Earlier, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that the alliance intended to hold the summit in the near future.

The last NATO-Russia Council conference took place in Brussels on July 13.

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