New Delhi: Russia accused the United States of stoking tensions in the Middle East with its recent retaliatory strikes on Iran-backed groups in Iraq and Syria during a UN Security Council meeting on Monday.
Overnight from Friday into Saturday, the US military struck dozens of targets in Syria and Iraq in response to a drone attack on a base in Jordan on January 28, which resulted in the deaths of three US soldiers, reported news agency AFP.
The exchange came at a contentious UN Security Council meeting called by Russia, Syria’s closest ally, where both countries also said they did not want an escalation and spillover of the Israel-Hamas war. Many council members expressed fears of a growing Mideast conflict and urged de-escalation and stepped-up peace efforts, AP reported.
As per the AFP report, Russian ambassador Vasily Nebenzia said, “It’s clear that American airstrikes are specifically, deliberately aimed to stoke the conflict.”
The Russian ambassador further claimed the US is attempting “to flex muscles … to justify and salvage the image of the current American administration … in the light of the upcoming presidential pre-election campaign.”
Similarly, China’s ambassador Jun Zhang also came down heavily on the US claiming its “actions will certainly exacerbate the vicious cycle of tit-for-tat violence in the Middle East.”
Anger over Israel’s devastating campaign in Gaza — which began after an unprecedented Hamas attack on October 7 — has grown across the Middle East, stoking violence involving Iran-backed groups in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen.
A UN official called for “all parties to step back from the brink and to consider the unbearable human and economic cost of a potential regional conflict.”
“I appeal to the Council to continue to actively engage all concerned parties to prevent further escalation and the worsening of tensions that undermine regional peace and security,” said Rosemary DiCarlo, under-secretary-general for political and peacebuilding affairs, reported AFP.