The United States officially broke off talks with Russia on implementing a ceasefire agreement in Syria.
America has accused Moscow of not living up to its commitments under the Sept. 9 deal to halt fighting and ensure aid reached besieged communities.
“The United States is suspending its participation in bilateral channels with Russia that were established to sustain the cessation of hostilities,” U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby said in a statement.
JUST IN: US suspends bilateral talks with Russia over Syrian cease-fire: “Russia failed to live up to its own commitments” pic.twitter.com/y09hD7vY1Q
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“Russia and the Syrian regime have chosen to pursue a military course, inconsistent with the Cessation of Hostilities, as demonstrated by their intensified attacks against civilian areas, targeting of critical infrastructure such as hospitals, and preventing humanitarian aid from reaching civilians in need, including through the September 19 attack on a humanitarian aid convoy,” Kirby added.
The U.S. government is blaming Russia and Syria for purposefully attacking humanitarian aid convoys and hospitals. Most recently, a September airstrike hit a United Nations aid convoy and killed 20 people. Russia and Syria have not taken responsibility for the strike — but the United States has blamed both of them.
During the short ceasefire, the AP reported that aid workers managed to deliver 17,000 food parcels to the town of 84,000 people, who have been cut off from any aid since July.
Amid the growing tensions, the State Department announced that the top U.S. diplomat on Europe, including Russia, will travel to Moscow later this week to hold talks with senior Russian officials on Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region in 2014. The United States and European Union imposed sanctions against Moscow for its actions in Crimea.
Kirby said the United States would continue to communicate with the Russian military to ensure that American and Russian aircraft targeting Islamic State positions in Syria do not come into conflict with each other.
“I think everybody’s patience with Russia has run out,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Monday. “There is nothing more for the United States and Russia to talk about with regard to trying to reach an agreement that would reduce the violence inside of Syria. And that’s tragic.”
The United States and Russia have been on opposing sides in the Syrian conflict. The U.S. has worked to back rebel forces opposed to the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad, while Russia is giving Assad military support.
Without the ceasefire more death and fighting is inevitable. Meanwhile, innocent people in Syria are forced to watch their nation crumble.