- Sec. Pompeo said that wealthy Russian people with ties to the Kremlin have laundered billions of dollars of money through Cyprus and Malta.
- The Secretary's comments came in response to remarks earlier this month by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
- During his presidency, Donald Trump was unable to fulfill his promise to improve relations with Russia.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused Russia of sowing “chaos, conflict, and division” in countries around the Mediterranean region. Sec. Pompeo said Moscow used a variety of methods to spread disinformation and undermine national sovereignty in countries including Libya and Syria.
Sec. Pompeo added, in a statement, that wealthy Russian people with ties to the Kremlin have laundered billions of dollars of money through Cyprus and Malta.
The Secretary’s comments came in response to remarks earlier this month by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who complained that the United States was playing “political games” in the region.
He added that Mr. Lavrov “once again errs the facts and is trying to rewrite history,” denouncing Moscow’s actions in Libya, Greece, and Syria.
Sec. Pompeo also said that the United States “supports the formation of an inclusive government in Libya, which can secure the country and meet the economic and humanitarian needs of the Libyan people.”
He stressed that his country is working with the United Nations to achieve this goal. Sec. Pompeo added on Twitter:
“Russia on the other hand undermines Mediterranean domestic politics, supports Syria’s brutal dictator, and fuels Libya’s conflict with its proxy. Who is playing games here?”
Sec. Pompeo elaborated in the statement, saying:
“Russia continues to threaten Mediterranean stability using a variety of techniques to spread disinformation, undermine national sovereignty, and sow chaos, conflict, and division within countries throughout the region.”
During his presidency, Donald Trump was unable to fulfill his promise to improve relations with Russia, as accusations of Russian interference in his 2016 victory constituted a stumbling block to him. In addition, the hostility of American politicians to the Kremlin posed another.
On the other hand, Russian President Vladimir Putin waited more than a month to congratulate Joe Biden on his apparent victory over President Trump in the US presidential elections that were held on November 3.
“For my part, I am ready for interaction and contacts with you,” President Putin said in a cable of congratulations to Mr. Biden Tuesday, according to a Kremlin statement.
After President Donald Trump’s surprise tweet in December 2018, in which he expressed his intention to withdraw from northern Syria, the Kurds found themselves heading to Moscow in search of a new ally.
In the same month, the chair of the executive committee of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Council, Ilham Ahmed, rushed to Moscow to urge Russian officials to work to start talks between the Syrian Democratic Council and the Syrian government.
What the Kurds feared eventually happened a year after President Trump announced the withdrawal of US forces from northern Syria, which actually took place in October 2019.
This opened the way for Turkey to occupy many of the towns and villages that were under Kurdish control in northern Syria.
Since then, the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces have been dealing with a Russian military presence in the areas they control, as Russian forces patrol the Syrian-Turkish border.
In late 2019, Moscow sent a special envoy to liaise with leaders of Kurdish political parties and prominent Arab and Christian figures in northeast Syria to help mediate between them and the Syrian government.