Russia has slammed the United Kingdom after British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson cancelled a scheduled visit to Moscow over its support for the Syrian government, claiming Britain has “no real influence” internationally.
The cancellation “once again confirms doubts about the added value of dialogue with the British, who do not have their own position on the majority of current issues,” the foreign ministry said in a statement on Sunday.
The British have “no real influence on the course of international affairs, remaining ‘in the shadow’ of their strategic partners,” it added.
“We don’t believe we need dialogue with London more than [London] needs it [with us],” it said.
The statement added there was a “fundamental misunderstanding or ignorance of what is happening in Syria and Russia’s efforts to resolve the crisis”.
Johnson announced on Saturday he would not travel to Moscow next week, saying that “developments in Syria have changed the situation fundamentally”.
“My priority is now to continue contact with the US and others in the run-up to the G7 meeting on 10-11 April,” he said.
“We deplore Russia’s continued defence of the Assad regime even after the chemical weapons attack on innocent civilians.”
Johnson then called on Russia to do “everything possible to bring about a political settlement in Syria and work with the rest of the international community to ensure that the shocking events of the last week are never repeated”.
His decision came in response to a suspected chemical weapons attack on the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun on Tuesday which killed at least 86 people, according to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Moscow has sought to deflect blame from its long-time ally Bashar al-Assad over the incident and says Syrian jets struck a rebel arms depot where “toxic substances” were being put inside bombs.