Russia opposes Canadian decision to let White Helmets settle in the country

Russia opposes Canadian decision to let White Helmets settle in the country
Maria Zakharova during the briefing, August 3, 2018 (Photo taken from the official website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation)

From Syria to Canada: Canada rescues Syrian volunteers

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova commented on Canada’s plans to accept some evacuated White Helmets in the course of her briefing in Moscow on August 3, 2018.

Following July’s emergency evacuation of 422 Syrian White Helmets rescue workers and their families, initiated by the U.K., Germany and Canada and supported by Israel, Jordan and the United States, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs immediately issued a comment condemning the group and its western supporters. At the same time, there was information that Canada would allow up to 250 of the group to immigrate to the country. Thus, the present statement of Maria Zakharova confirms the existing Russian attitude towards these Syrian volunteers, claiming them “pseudo-humanitarian,” as well as elaborates on Canada’s decision to harbour them. In particular, she says that this organization has “close ties to extremists,” and Canada, with its allies, has been providing them with funding. Their main goal, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, is “to keep the war in Syria going as long as possible.”

“The White Helmets and the Canadian authorities are one in [sic] the same with respect to groundless accusations against the Syrian authorities as well as blaming Russia.”

Maria Zakharova also traced the Canadian history back to WWII, accusing the country of sheltering Nazis from the “Ukrainian battalions of the SS” and connecting this fact with the Syrian rescue workers. However, she hoped that “ordinary Canadians” would gain a better understanding of the real situation in Syria at a certain point.

Meantime, news coverage going in line with the official Russian rhetoric on the White Helmets has recently appeared on Russia Today. It contains interviews with witnesses blaming the volunteers for collaborating with terrorist groups, rescuing only rebels, concentrating on heroic video footage, filming propaganda materials, taking humanitarian aid away from civilians, etc.

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