Moscow has denounced Boris Johnson and accused the UK of trying to whip up “hysteria” after the Foreign Secretary accused Russia of being involved in bombing an aid convoy in Syria and urged protests outside the country’s embassy.
Russian defence ministry spokesman major general Igor Konashenkov said Johnson’s accusations were “a storm in a glass of muddy London water” and insisted none of his country’s aircraft were in the area at the time of the attack.
He said the “Russophobic hysteria of certain members of the British establishment is no longer impressive”, the RT website reported, while the Embassy in London claimed MPs were on the “wrong side of history” over the Syria conflict.
Johnson told the Commons on Tuesday that all the evidence pointed to Russian aircraft being involved in the September 19 attack on the aid convoy. He also called on people to march on the Russian embassy.
“The incident took place after dark; by Russia’s own account, the war planes of Syria’s regime cannot strike targets after dark, and - also by Russia’s own account - its aircraft were in the vicinity at the time. All the available evidence therefore points to Russian responsibility for the atrocity,” he told MPs.
But the Kremlin-backed Sputnik news agency reported that Konashenkov said: “No Russian aircraft were in the area of the humanitarian convoy in Aleppo.
“It’s a fact. And all the ‘alleged’ evidence ... will not be worth a penny, if someone is really given access to them.”
In its response to the Commons debate, the Russian embassy said it was “depressing” and added: “The speeches of those who participated in the discussion contradict the logic of all previous decisions of the International Syria Support Group as well as UN Security Council resolutions (Britain is a member of both).”
A statement by the embassy’s press secretary added: “Syria is going through the hard process of defeating terrorists. Pity that the British parliamentarians placed themselves on the wrong side of history this time.”