29 Sep 2017 18:54

Russian Defense Ministry questions UK's 'major' contribution to ISIL destruction

MOSCOW. Sept 29 (Interfax) - The Russian Defense Ministry believes UK Defense Secretary Michael Fallon has overestimated the United Kingdom's role in the imminent defeat of the terrorist organization ISIL (banned in Russia), Russian Defense Ministry spokesperson Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said.

"As the ISIL group's destruction by the Syrian forces with the Russian Aerospace Forces' support in Syria is drawing near, it suddenly turns out that UK Defense Secretary Michael Fallon has been advancing the terrorists' defeat more than anyone else from behind our back all these years," Konashenkov said.

"One would inevitably wonder where all these British 'good forces' were when ISIL had taken over one third of Iraq and virtually all of Syria by the middle of 2015," Konashenkov said.

He referred to Fallon's words that the United Kingdom had made 'a major contribution' to the campaign to undermine the capacity of 'the miserable cult' since 2014 and that 'by air, land and sea UK personnel have played a tireless role' in fighting the terrorists.

The British defense secretary also said his country has carried out more than 1,500 airstrikes upon ISIL in Iraq and Syria since 2014, Konashenkov said.

"Compare this to more than 99,000 precise strikes confirmed by readout data that the Russian Aerospace Forces have delivered upon terrorists in Syria alone, which is what has made a strategic difference in fighting ISIL," Konashenkov said.

"So, if Britain's contribution to the fight against ISIL can be called 'major', then it is not because of the scale of the effort but because it was majorly insignificant," he said.

In an interview published earlier by UK Defence Journal, Fallon was quoted as saying, "Britain has made a major contribution to the campaign that has crippled Daesh [ISIL] since 2014, forcing this miserable cult from the gates of Baghdad to the brink of defeat in Raqqa."