Following the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris on Friday night the Russian President has addressed sources of funding for the terrorist group.
Putin said that he shared Russian intelligence data with fellow heads of state at the G20 summit in Turkey, according to RT. In the wake of the terror attacks in Paris, world leaders met in the Turkish city of Antalya to discuss their response to the latest atrocities committed by Islamic State.
Pres. Vladimir Putin at the opening of the International Military-Technical Forum ARMY-2015.
Sources of funding need to be cut
According to the data Islamic State receives funding from more than 40 countries, including some G20 member states. “I provided examples based on our data on the financing of different Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) units by private individuals. This money, as we have established, comes from 40 countries and, there are some of the G20 members among them,” Putin told the journalists.
Putin also drew attention to the illegal trade in oil that provides huge amounts of revenue for the terror group. “I’ve shown our colleagues photos taken from space and from aircraft which clearly demonstrate the scale of the illegal trade in oil and petroleum products,” he said.
“The motorcade of refueling vehicles stretched for dozens of kilometers, so that from a height of 4,000 to 5,000 meters they stretch beyond the horizon,” Putin added, drawing comparisons with oil pipelines.
Putin joins calls for united front against IS
The Russian leader also called for a united international effort in the fight against IS, rather than focusing on which country has been more effective thus far. Putin said that Moscow would happily arm opposition groups that are fighting Islamic State militants.
“Some armed opposition groups consider it possible to begin active operations against IS with Russia’s support. And we are ready to provide such support from the air. If it happens it could become a good basis for the subsequent work on a political settlement,” he said. “We really need support from the US, European nations, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iran,” the president added.
U.S. officials have previously criticized Russian airstrikes against moderate opposition groups, accusing Moscow of trying to preserve the al-Assad regime rather than concentrating on defeating IS. The embattled Syrian president is a long-term ally of Russia, and recently visited Moscow to meet with Putin.
Russia accused of conflict of interest in Syria
The close relationship between the two leaders has caused many analysts to accuse Russia of a conflict of interests in Syria, diverting resources away from the fight against IS in order to support the Syrian Army.
Although the relationship between Russia and Western powers has become strained over Syria, the recent terror attacks in Paris appear to have caused the creation of a new spirit of cooperation. On Sunday President Obama met Putin for talks in which he urged the Russian leader to join international efforts against IS, while British Prime Minister David Cameron is also expected to meet Putin on Monday.
The talks represent a major change in the relationship between the three nations. Cameron has not met with Putin for more than a year after relations between the two nations suffered a serious setback in the wake of the conflict in Ukraine, and there is some hope that the attacks will allow for some rapprochement among the international community.
Diplomatic talks aim to develop coordinated approach in Syria
Before the meeting Cameron said: “We have our differences with the Russians, not least because they’ve done so much to degrade the non-Isil opposition to Assad, people who could be part of the future of Syria. But the conversation I want to have with Vladimir Putin is to say look, there is one thing we agree about which is we’d be safer in Russia, we’d be safer in Britain if we destroy ISIL. That’s what we should be focusing on.”
Following his meeting with Putin, President Obama “noted the importance of Russia’s military efforts in Syria focusing on the group [IS].” It is hoped that the U.S. and UK can convince Putin to develop a more coordinated approach to bombing Islamic State militants.
UK government sources said the UK, USA and European countries were attempting to develop a “clear consistent approach… to Russia on Isil and Syria.” Cameron, President Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French foreign minister Laurent Fabius and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi are set to meet on Monday to discuss the outcomes of the talks.
It will be hugely encouraging for the prospects of defeating Islamic State if a broad coalition can be formed that combines Western and Russian knowledge and firepower in the fight against the Islamist group.