Russia sowing 'chaos and conflict' in Mediterranean region, says Pompeo

WION Web Team
Washington, United States Published: Dec 15, 2020, 08:37 PM(IST)

Mike Pompeo Photograph:( Reuters )

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Pompeo blasted Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov over comments that the United States is playing political games in the Mediterranean region and turned the tables to say it is Russia that is undermining stability in Syria, Libya, and other countries

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday accused Russia of continuing to "threaten Mediterranean stability" and sowing "chaos, conflict, and division" in countries around the region.

“All of these actions clearly demonstrate that if anyone is playing political games and trying to stall progress in regional conflicts, it is Russia, which only acts to advance its own interests to the detriment of the entire region,” Pompeo said in a statement.

Also read: Pompeo urges Greece, Turkey to resolve Mediterranean row; pledges support

In a statement on "Russian Influence in the Mediterranean," the outgoing Secretary of State blasted Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov over comments that the United States is playing political games in the Mediterranean region and turned the tables to say it is Russia that is undermining stability in Syria, Libya, and other countries.

Lavrov "again gets the facts wrong and attempts to rewrite history," Pompeo said, denouncing Moscow's actions.

His statement came the same day that Russian President Vladimir Putin finally congratulated US President-elect Joe Biden on his victory over Donald Trump in the November presidential election.

Russia maintains a sizable naval presence in the eastern Mediterranean and regularly conducts naval maneuvers in the area. It had conducted live-fire naval exercises in the region, where there are escalating tensions between Turkey and regional neighbors Greece and Cyprus over rights to offshore energy resources.

Also read: US to impose sanctions on Turkey over Russian S-400 defense system

Russia, which is involved in energy projects across the region, has significantly strengthened its military, political and economic ties with Turkey in recent years. Moscow and Ankara are coordinating closely on their military presence in Syria, while Turkey has purchased Russia’s advanced S-400 missile defense system and broken ground on a Russian-built nuclear power plant on its southern coast.

The United States imposed sanctions on Turkey over its purchase of Russian ground-to-air defences and targeted the top Turkish defence development body, its president, and three employees.

The move, focused on the defence sector, including Turkey's Defence Industries Directorate (SSB), has drawn condemnation from NATO-ally Ankara and is likely to further strain Erdogan's relations with Western allies.

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