In a statement from Russian Foreign spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, Russia have claimed that the United States decision to lower restrictions on arming rebels in Syria had allowed the rebels to receive deliveries of anti-aircraft missiles. It has claimed that this was an act of hostility as it could’ve endangered Russian military personnel.
US state department spokesman Mark Toner dismissed the claims stating that the US was against providing the rebels with that kind of weaponry. As they felt it would be dangerous for the weaponry to potentially end up in the hands of ISIS fighters, who in turn could use them on civilian aircraft. Though it must be noted that the bill expressly forbids the provision of these weapons to Syrian rebels.
The comments are part of a larger issue between Russia and the US, as they both flex their might, albeit by proxy in the middle east. On this occasion on opposite sides of the Syrian civil war. Though that conflict appears to be coming to an end, the future of Syria will also be of interest to both countries.
The Russian spokeswoman went on to infer that the US had wanted the weapons to end up being used against the Russian’s. She also reiterated the fact that any such weapons were a direct threat to Russian air force personnel, and as such were a hostile act. She also accused Washington of being against Russia, and inferred that the Obama administration was trying to influence the future policies of Donald Trump. Though Trump himself has promised to improve relations with Russia, and has struck up something of at least a passing respect with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.
It’s likely that this relationship will at least see tensions reduced between the countries, as Trump is likely to try and court Putin to improve relations. Though many have accused Trump of winning the election based on hacking from Russia. Whether this was state-sponsored is unknown. But many will at least be open to the idea that Trump owes Russia for his unexpected and at many times unlikely win.
What is likely is that after Obama has left the White House, relations with Moscow are likely to improve, though it may be to the detriment to the United States, and this will not play well with many in the higher levels of American politics.
Joseph is a 34 year old freelance writer from London. He has a wide interest in politics and specialises in the subject. He's also a blog writer in his spare time.