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Russian lawmaker calls NATO’s joining US-led coalition act of moral support

May 26, 10:39 UTC+3 MOSCOW
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MOSCOW, May 26. /TASS/. NATO’s decision to join the US-led coalition active in Syria is just a formal "act of moral support," Russian State Duma (lower house of parliament) Committee for Foreign Affairs Leonid Slutsky told reporters on Friday.

While commenting on the outcome of the NATO summit, he said that this decision "it is just an act of moral support as NATO does not plan to participate in military operations." "In fact, NATO countries have been members of the coalition from the beginning, so NATO’s decision is no more than a political formality," the Russian lawmaker added.

According to him, "Russia’s Aerospace Force is by far the only foreign military force which is legally deployed to Syria, as it has been fighting international terrorism in the country upon a request by the Syrian authorities." "Moscow has been repeatedly calling for setting up a broad coalition to combat the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra (terror groups outlawed in Russia)," he went on to say. "Our goal is to eliminate the hotbed of terrorism in Syria without interfering in its political order," Slutsky stressed.

However, in his words, "the West still pursues its own course." "We can see the results in Manchester, London, Paris, Brussels and other European cities that have been hit by horrible terrorist attacks in the past year," Slutsky said.

On Thursday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced the alliance’s decision to join the US-led coalition fighting against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.

Until recently, NATO was not a member of the coalition but provided assistance to it as a partner. NATO AWACS have been conducting regular reconnaissance flights over the Syrian-Turkish border and the country’s coastline without entering Syria’s airspace. Apart from that, NATO has been training Iraqi military officers.

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