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Russia Accuses West Of Politicizing Syrian Humanitarian Crisis

Russia accused the West of politicizing the humanitarian crisis in Syria in a way that risks derailing upcoming peace talks.

Russian Deputy Ambassador Vladimir Safronkov questioned why Britain, France, and the United States called a United Nations Security Council meeting on January 15 that focused on the starvation and suffering of people in the rebel-held town of Madaya, which is under siege by Syrian government troops, while minimizing suffering in towns under siege by rebels.

Calling that a "double-standard," he said "all this unnecessary noise" undermines peace talks scheduled for January 25.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said both the government and rebels are committing war crimes by deliberately starving civilians, but most reports have focused on Madaya, where UN trucks delivered aid this week.

British Deputy Ambassador Peter Wilson said all sides should lift their sieges, but the government "has the primary responsibility to protect Syrians."

"Let council members with ties to the regime use their influence, and not their air force, to address this horrific situation."

Safronkov said Russia has been encouraging Syria to cooperate with the UN.

Based on reporting by AP and AFP

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