WASHINGTON, June 16, 2013 — Russian President Vladimir Putin today scolded the west for backing rebels he says eat human flesh.
Speaking the day before the Group of 8 Summit at the Lough Erne golf resort in Northern Ireland, Putin said, “One does not really need to support the people who not only kill their enemies, but open up their bodies, eat their intestines in front of the public and cameras.”
He then asked, “Are these the people you want to support? Are they the ones you want to supply with weapons? Then this probably has little relation to the humanitarian values preached in Europe for hundreds of years.”
The G8 includes leaders from the United Kingdom, the United States, Japan, Canada, Russia, Germany, France and Italy.
During the summit, U.K. Prime Minister Cameron and U.S. President President Obama hope to win Putin’s support for peace efforts in Syria. Last month, Washington and Moscow floated an idea for peace talks, but so far divisions in the rebel groups have delayed those talks.
Putin, a staunch ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, has dismissed claims by the West and the United Nations that the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons. Instead, Moscow points to suggestions that rebels have used chemical weapons, assertions the U.N. says also appear accurate.
Russia, along with China, have consistently used their veto in the UN Security Council to prohibit the United Nations from taking harsh actions against Assad. Russian diplomats also say any arming of the rebels will only escalate violence and undercut peace efforts.
Moscow is a major weapons supplier of the Syrian government, and maintains a military port in Syria.
Obama and Putin have not met in person for over a year.
Tensions rose Saturday after the U.S. said it will grant Jordan’s request to keep F-16 fighters and Patriot missiles in the country, prompting Moscow to accuse the U.S. of positioning to enforce a no-fly zone inside Syria, which Moscow has repeatedly rebuffed.
That decision follows an announcement by the Obama administration last week that it will arm the rebels. Washington said it made that decision after Assad crossed the “red line” delineated by President Obama by using chemical weapons.
Putin’s comments about flesh-eating rebels appear to refer to two videos released by rebels last month, showing rebel commanders cutting open a dead soldier and eating one of his organs, reportedly his heart.
After his comments, however, Putin expressed optimism about broaching differences with the West and finding a way to end the Syria conflict.
Syria will likely dominate the first two days of the discussions, as major leaders seek to establish a framework for peace talks.
World leaders at the G8 will also discuss the international economy.
Syria is not the only contentious issue likely to be discusssed at the G8. According to London insiders, both Cameron and German President Merkel plan to confront President Obama about the leaks by Edward Snowden and may seek to limit intelligence collaboration because of his disclosures.
This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.