US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power was invited to Syria by Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova Saturday in an escalating battle of words between the two.
Following an alleged accidental US-led coalition strike on a Syrian army post, which took the lives of as many as 62 soldiers, Zakharova argued that the incident proved the US is supporting ISIS in the region.
“If previously we had suspicions that Al-Nusra Front is protected this way, now, after today’s airstrikes on the Syrian army we come to a really terrifying conclusion for the entire world: The White House is defending ISIS,” Zakharova told state-owned news channel Russia-24.
After calling for an emergency Security Council meeting over the strike, Russia was immediately accused of “grandstanding” by Power – who further labeled the request as nothing more than a “stunt.”
“Russia has billed itself as the world’s defender against terrorism,” Power said at the UN. “And part of what it is alleging tonight is that somehow the United States is undermining the fight against ISIL.”
“Indeed, the Russian spokesperson, I believe, came out and thought somehow that we were complicit and that we were even trying to protect ISIL. Really? American citizens have been beheaded by this group. We are leading a 67-country coalition to destroy this group. ISIL has lost 40 percent of its territory. This is serious for us; it is not a game. And that spokesperson who suggested complicity really should be embarrassed.”
In a Facebook post Saturday – which featured a 1983 photo of President Ronald Reagan sitting with Afghan Mujahideen in the White House – Zakharova responded by inviting Power to join her on a trip to Syria to “find out what ‘embarrassed’ means.”
“Dear Samantha Power, in order to know the meaning of the word ’embarrassed,’ I highly encourage you to travel to Syria and talk to the people there for yourself. And by that I do not mean the Al-Nusra Front militants, nor the moderate opposition, whose humanitarian situation Washington seems to be so worried about,” the post begins. “I likewise am not referring to the Western warriors for justice for Syria. I’m referring to the actual people that continue to live there in spite of the bloody experiment that has been waged on their homeland for over six years, with active participation by Washington.”
Zakharova went on to further taunt Power by promising the trip would be safe so long as coalition forces did not “mistakenly” strike her position.
“Do say yes. Don’t be frightened. Nobody will lay a finger on you in my presence,” Zakharova wrote. “Unless, of course, your guys don’t again ‘mistakenly’ strike the wrong target. You’ll make lots of new memories. And find out what ‘embarrassed’ means in the process.”
US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov are set to meet during a special Security Council meeting Wednesday to discuss the situation in Syria.