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Soleimani's killing short-sighted step: Russian Defence Min

Moscow

03-January-2020

Praising Iranian General Qaem Soleimani's contribution to the fight against Al Qaeda and IS in Iraq and Syria, Russia's Defence Ministry on Friday said his killing by the US would have "serious negative consequences" for the Middle East as well as international security.

"Short-sighted actions by the US resulting in the killing of General Qasem Soleimani are leading to a steep escalation of the military and political situation in the Middle East region and serious negative consequences for the whole system of international security," the Ministry said in a statement, reported BBC citing local Russian media.

"Under Qasem Soleimani's direct leadership, armed resistance against international terrorist groups Isis and al-Qaeda was organised in Syria and Iraq long before the US-led so-called 'international coalition' was set up.

"His personal contribution to the fight against Isis in Syria is undeniable," it said, terming Soleimani "a skilled military commander, who wielded deserved authority and significant influence in the Middle East region".

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Maria Zakharova, also said that the US "wanted to change the balance of power in the region" by killing Gen Soleimani.

"This will lead to nothing but an escalation of tensions in the region which will affect millions of people," she wrote on Facebook.

Gen Soleimani was assassinated early on Friday at Baghdad airport, along with other Iran-backed militia figures in an air strike ordered by US President Donald Trump.IANS