Watch US Spokesperson attack Russia Today reporter over Syria question
Images of Aleppo after airstrikes, February (AFP/File)
American Spokesperson John Kirby has been filmed apparently losing his temper at a Russia Today reporter, in a clip that went viral over the weekend.
Kirby is seen responding impatiently to questions of Gayane Chichakyan, a reporter for the Russian state-owned broadcaster, after she presses him for specifics on his statements about the bombing of hospitals and mobile clinics during strikes against rebel-held areas by Russian and Syrian planes.
Brushing off the enquiry by saying he doesn’t have the details to hand, Kirby then snaps at Chichakyan’s further questions – telling her to ask “your” Defence Minister, meaning the Russian government official.
'Go ask your own government': US spokesperson blasts Russia Today journalist over Syria bombings pic.twitter.com/RFNxHwnNND— Middle East Eye (@MiddleEastEye) 18 November 2016
Chickayan stresses that the Spokesman should give specifics to allow her colleagues to pose those questions to the Russian government. In the following exchange, Kirby says the accusations of targeted hospitals are from “sources that we find credible”, and that on the question of aid deliveries being obstructed, “there’s no question in our mind that the obstruction is coming from the Regime and Russia.”
Another journalist, Associated Press’ Matt Lee, then comes to the defence of the reporter: “Be careful about saying ‘your’ defence minister, she’s a journalist just like the rest of us,” he says.
“From a state-owned outlet,” Kirby replies. “I’m sorry but I’m not gonna put Russia on the same level of the rest of you reporting from independent media outlets.”
The response to the confrontation was as diverse as opinions on Russia Today itself.
US Spokesperson 1-0 Russia Today https://t.co/IaNu3ftQkX— Suhail (@SuhailYusufzai) 19 November 2016
Russia is currently bombing opposition held-areas of Syria in cooperation with the Assad Regime, and has been heavily criticised for causing civilian casualties. The Russian position clashes with that of the current US administration, who support Syria’s rebels. And, as the Russian state’s official channel, Russia Today has provoked ire by pushing controversial lines on both Syria, and the recent American election.
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