Russia accuses U.S. of protecting ISIS

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks at a meeting of the Presidential Council for Culture and Art in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Friday, Dec. 25, 2015. (Maxim Shipenkov/Pool Photo via AP)
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks at a meeting of the Presidential Council for Culture and Art in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Friday, Dec. 25, 2015. (Maxim Shipenkov/Pool Photo via AP)

The Russian Defense Ministry is accusing the Pentagon of fighting the Islamic State in ‘word only’ after the U.S. military refused to share targeting and intelligence information with Vladimir Putin’s forces.

Pentagon spokeswoman Michelle Baldanza recently said the U.S. would not “cooperate with Russia on Syria until they change their strategy of supporting Assad and instead focus on ISIL.”

That posture drew the ire of the Russian military.

“The hackneyed thesis has once again confirmed that the Pentagon will fight against IS in word only, instead of taking real action,” said Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov, Russian state news agency TASS reported.

“The statement by the US Defense Department spokesperson Michelle Baldanza about the [U.S.’s] refusal from any cooperation in the fight against Islamic State is a broken record, and it’s high time to change it.”

The Russian Defense Ministry went on to say the new routes run through the north-western regions of Iraq, which “are in the focus of constant attention of the United States…We publicly told our American colleagues that it is necessary not to discuss the IS activities in Iraq, but to take real action to block the terrorists’ sources of income in the region,” Konashenkov said.

On December 25, Sergey Rudskoy told journalists that Russian intelligence found almost 12,000 tank/delivery trucks on the Turkish-Iraqi border near Zakho, where the ‘eastern’ oil smuggling route used by the Islamic State terrorist group runs.

“As of the time the imagery was shot, there were 11,775 tank and delivery trucks on both sides of the Turkish-Iraqi border in the vicinity of Zakho, with 4,530 of them in Turkey and 7,250 in Iraq,” he added. “It is worth mentioning that oil extracted both in Iraq and in Syria is smuggled via the checkpoint there,” he added.

In short, Russia is accusing the United States and Turkey of allowing oil to continue to be smuggled into Turkey from ISIS controlled areas in Syria and Iraq. In not providing targeting information for these transport routes, Russia is accusing the US of protecting the ISIS revenue stream from Russian airstrikes.