Russian President Vladimir Putin appealed to Western leaders to bury their differences with Russia and jointly strike at the “barbarian” Islamic State (ISIS) militants in Syria, saying Friday’s Paris terrorist attack underscored the need for such concerted action.
In a condolences telegram sent to French President Francois Hollande, Putin said, “This tragedy is another proof of the barbarian nature of terrorism, which challenges the human civilisation. Clearly, for effective fighting this evil, the entire international community should unite efforts,” Tass news agency reported.
“I would like to confirm the Russian side is ready for most close cooperation with the French counterparts in investigating into the crime in Paris. I hope the initiators and executors will receive deserved punishments,” Putin added.
Sergei Sobyanin, a close Putin ally and the mayor of Moscow, said the killings in Paris were “another reason to consolidate in the battle against Islamic State.”
Alexey Pushkov, a senior lawmaker and the chairman of the foreign affairs committee in the lower house of parliament, said he hoped the incident would bring the West to its senses. “Russia is fighting in Syria against those who blew up Paris and declared war on Europe,” he wrote on his official Twitter account. “It is time for the West to stop criticising Moscow and to form a joint coalition.”
In an interview on Friday ahead of the G20 summit and before news of the Paris carnage broke, Putin vented his frustration at the United States for repeatedly rebuffing Russia’s overtures to coordinate more closely in carrying out airstrikes against ISIS targets in Syria, Reuters reported.
Sources said that for weeks, Moscow had been asking Washington to share intelligence about ISIS targets while at the same time seeking the creation of a broader coalition to confront the ISIS menace in Syria. Washington has rejected all of Russia’s proposals, the sources claim.
“We need to urgently end the conflict between the West and Russia over Ukraine,” said Sergey Markov, a Putin loyalist.
Russia began launching airstrikes in Syria on Sept. 30, saying the move was meant to protect itself from possible future terror attacks by some 7,000 citizens from Russia and the former Soviet Union who are fighting with ISIS.
However, Washington has accused Russia of not primarily targeting ISIS targets, but rather bombing rebels backed by the West or Gulf states instead.
Meanwhile, Russian authorities announced that they are bolstering security measures following the attacks in Paris. The move includes putting security services on high alert, urging vigilance among citizens and tightening transport safety measures, Reuters reported.
Russia’s deputy prime minister in charge of the defence industry, Dmitry Rogozin, said Russian defence bodies had introduced additional anti-terror security measures, according to Interfax news agency.
Moscow is particularly wary of an imminent ISIS terrorist attack after the jihadist group released a video threatening attacks in Russia “very soon.”