WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration on Friday accused Russia of pursuing a “morally bankrupt” policy in Syria, following Turkey’s seizure of alleged Russian military equipment from a Syrian plane headed from Moscow to Damascus.
The State Department said it had “grave concern” that Russia is continuing to supply Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime with materiel that could be used to bolster its fight against rebels.
“We have no doubt that this was serious military equipment,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters, referring to the cargo that was taken from the plane.
Turkish fighter jets on Wednesday intercepted the Syrian Air flight from Moscow and seized what it said what it said was ammunition and military equipment for the Syrian Defense Ministry.
But Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the plane was legally carrying Russian radar parts for Syria.
Lavrov insisted the shipment of “electric equipment for radars” was legitimate cargo that complied with international law, but he added that it was of “dual purpose,” meaning it could have civilian and military applications. Syria has branded the incident piracy and Russia said the action endangered the lives of Russian citizens aboard the aircraft.
The U.S. acknowledges the shipments are legal but only because Russia along with China, has repeatedly blocked efforts to impose sanctions, including an arms embargo, on the Assad regime at the U.N. Security Council.
Russia and China have been harshly criticized for their stance by the U.S. and its allies, and Nuland took that criticism a step further on Friday.
“There are no Security Council sanctions on Syria because Security Council members Russia and China continue to block them,” she said. “Everybody else on the Security Council is doing what it can unilaterally to ensure that the Assad regime is not getting support from the outside.”
“No responsible country ought to be aiding and abetting the war machine of the Assad regime and particularly those with responsibilities for global peace and security as U.N. Security Council members have,” she said. She added that the shipment was “legally correct but the policy is still morally bankrupt.”
More Related Stories
- Army weapons engineer tied to white nationalist organizations
- Ted Cruz against the world
- David Vitter's hypocritical, punitive, horrible new amendment
- Louie Gohmert: Women should be forced to carry nonviable pregnancies to term
- Could hackers destroy the U.S. power grid?
- Democrats may be even worse than Republicans at regulating Wall Street
- Eric Holder versus journalism
- A progressive defense of drones
- There's no substitute for government disaster relief
- Holder signed off on search warrant for reporter
- Mississippi could begin prosecuting women for miscarriages
- Mike Judge: "Bowling for Columbine" made me pro-gun
- Closing Gitmo is not enough
- Murkowski: Palin too disengaged to run for Senate
- In IRS scandal, new GOP tactic is ignorance
- Code Pink activist berates Obama at national security speech
- Cuomo: "Shame on us" if New York City elects Weiner
- Coburn calls questions about tornado aid "typical Washington B.S."
- Conspiracy theorists clash over London attack
- Voting is not a right
- Destroying the planet for record profits
Featured Slide Shows
The week in 10 picsclose X
- 1 of 11
Lisa Montgomery embraces her nephew Thursday after a tornado tore apart her home in Cleburne, Texas. The twister killed six people and destroyed entire swaths of the North Texas town.
Credit: AP/LM Otero
Jack McMahon, the defense attorney for abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, speaks outside the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia Tuesday. His client was convicted of killing three babies in his clinic, and will serve multiple life sentences.
Credit: AP/Matt Rourke
A photo taken Monday captures Vice President Joe Biden's response to a Milwaukee second-grader's innovative proposal to end America's epidemic of gun violence. This guy!
Credit: AP/Jenny Aicher
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., flanked by a grouper-eyed Michele Bachmann, addresses the IRS' admission that it targeted Tea Party groups in advance of the 2012 election. In an op-ed for CNN Thursday, the Kentucky senator slammed the president for his faux outrage.
Credit: AP/Molly Riley
Ousted IRS chief Steven Miller is sworn in on Capitol Hill Friday. Miller testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on the extra scrutiny the agency gave conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Attorney General Eric Holder pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Holder is under fire, among other things, for the Justice Department's gathering of phone records at the Associated Press.
Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster
O.J. Simpson sits during an evidentiary hearing at Clark County District Court in Las Vegas, Nev., Thursday. Simpson, who is currently serving a nine-to-33-year sentence in state prison for armed robbery and kidnapping, is using a writ of habeas corpus to seek a new trial.
Credit: AP/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Jeff Scheid
Major Tom to ground control: On Sunday astronaut Chris Hadfield recorded the first music video from space, a cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity."
Credit: AP/NASA/Chris Hadfield
When it rains it pours. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference Thursday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, inexplicably inspiring an #umbrellagate Twitter meme.
Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin
A smoke plume rises high above a road block at the intersection of County A and Ross Road east of Solon Springs, Wis., Tuesday. No injuries were reported, but the the wildfire caused evacuations across northwestern Wisconsin.
Credit: AP/The Duluth News-Tribune/Clint Austin
Recent Slide Shows
- 1 of 11