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Russia Risks ‘Pariah’ Status, Says Foreign Secretary Johnson

(AFP) – Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said Russia was in danger of becoming a pariah nation, as he hit out at alleged “double tap” bombing raids in Syria, hitting aid workers.

“They drop one bomb and then they wait for the aid workers to come out, civilian people pulling the injured from the rubble, and then five minutes later they drop another bomb,” he told The Sun newspaper.

Johnson said the British government had evidence that Russian jets had carried out such attacks, which were “unquestionably a war crime”.

“We have evidence. We have good ground to believe that the Russians themselves have been doing that.

“We are trying to document that fully because that is in my view unquestionably a war crime.”

He said Britain and the United States were looking at a “range of options” designed to ramp up the pressure on Moscow.

“The single most potent weapon we have is shame,” he said.

“The world’s attitude towards Russia has been hardening and I think people now believe that Russia is in danger of becoming a pariah nation.

“If they continue like this they will forfeit any sympathy and any admiration in the world at all, and I think they do care about that.

“In the end, if (President Vladimir) Putin’s strategy is the greatness and glory of Russia then he risks seeing that turned to ashes as people view his actions with contempt.”

A short-lived truce brokered by Moscow and Washington last month fell apart as both sides blamed each other for its failure.

Moscow has since been accused of indiscriminately bombing rebel-held eastern Aleppo in support of an assault by Syrian government troops aiming capture all of the country’s second city.

France on Friday discussed a UN draft resolution on imposing a ceasefire in the battleground city with Russia, the United States and the two other permanent Security Council members, diplomats said.

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