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 European diplomats to directly blame Russia of Aleppo bombings, - Foreign Policy

Overcoming a wave of reluctance to antagonize Moscow, European Union foreign ministers are poised to formally and explicitly berate Russia for supporting the Syrian government’s deadly assault on Aleppo, an attack that “may amount to war crimes.”

Censor.NET reports citing Foreign Policy.

"An earlier draft of the EU statement did not include a direct reference to Russia, but has been added at the insistence of the French, British and German governments. The move comes as Secretary of State John Kerry mounts a new diplomatic push to pursue a cease-fire for the besieged city at a meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland on Saturday that includes representatives of Russia, Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar," the article in FP reads.

""Since the beginning of the offensive by the regime and its allies, notably Russia, the intensity and scale of the aerial bombardment of eastern Aleppo is clearly disproportionate," reads a draft joint statement obtained by FP. "The escalating violence in Aleppo is causing untold and unacceptable suffering for thousands of its inhabitants"."

Read more: 11 civilians killed in Syria as Russia launches air strike against Idlib

Several EU countries with political or business ties to Russia opposed efforts to explicitly call out Moscow, including Greece, Spain, Austria, the Czech Republic, and Cyprus. But proponents of the more pointed language prevailed, just as Syrian President Bashar al-Assad vowed to "clean" the divided city of Aleppo, prompting fears of more bloody atrocities.

"Given Russia's brutal onslaught against Syrian civilians, abetted by Assad and Hezbollah, it is hardly surprising that the EU would, as a first step, respond so strongly," one European diplomat told FP.

When asked about potential U.S. sanctions, a senior State Department official told FP: "We've long held that sanctions are best utilized when they are coordinated with our partners in Europe and beyond" that enable coordination of harsher or looser sanctions as conditions require. "But no decisions have been made," the official added.

The current text of the joint statement came out of a meeting Friday in Brussels of the EU's Political and Security Committee, and remains subject to changes ahead of the Monday meeting of ministers.
 
 
 
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