Feeling the sting from U.S. criticism of its airstrike campaign in Syria,Russia on Tuesday reminded Washington of its past support for the U.S. in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
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Moscow vehemently denied Western claims that Russia is seeking to prop-up embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime.
The Kremlin has called those claims a form of western propaganda and maintains that its only goal in Syria is to fight terrorism. On Tuesday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharovaevoked the Kremlin’s reaction to the 9/11 attacks in comments rejecting the U.S. stance on Russia’s Syria campaign. “I want to remind you … after the September 11th attacks, we shared the U.S. pain as if it were our own, understanding what terrorism is,” Ms. Zakharova told a news conference, Reuters reported. “We supported the United States in everything, (including) in the U.N. Security Council. We helped them fight terrorism. We didn’t ask, ‘Are they good or bad terrorists?’ “
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She recounted Russia’s own history of Islamist attacks, saying fighting Islamist militants was a matter of national security for Moscow. “We have been through this, we know what it is like and we don’t want to see international terrorism in our country again. This is too painful for us. And we expect understanding on this one,” she said, Reuters reported. The U.S. has repeated expressed concern over Russia’s involvement in the region, claiming Russian strikes on anti-Assad rebels, including those backed by the U.S., have actually aided the Islamic State terrorist group, which both the U.S. and Russia claim to be combating.