WASHINGTON (AA) – Several U.S.-based organizations have urged American President Barack Obama in a letter to take immediate steps to counter Russia’s aggressive actions in the Middle East and Eastern Europe.
The letter dated Jan. 12 was obtained by Anadolu Agency on Tuesday.
“Military provocations, airspace violations, ground invasions, and even threats of nuclear assault have become increasingly frequent in [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s bullying of neighboring states, a phenomenon that cannot be allowed to continue,” the letter read.
Describing themselves as “concerned Americans and organizations representing a diverse group of ethnic communities,” the signatories of the letter include Syrian American Council, American Latvian Association, Assembly of Turkish American Associations, Estonian American National Council, Free Russia Foundation, Joint Baltic American National Committee, Libyan American Public Affairs Council, Lithuanian American Council, Ukraine Congress Committee of America, World Congress of Crimean Tatars and Circassian Cultural Institute.
The letter mentioned Russia’s “illegally occupying the Crimean peninsula” in March 2014 as well as its ongoing support to Ukrainian separatists that left more than 9,000 people dead and nearly a million others displaced.
With respect to Ukraine and Eastern Europe, the group urged for providing lethal arms to Ukraine, intensifying economic sanctions against Moscow and deploying a sizeable NATO ground force in the Baltic region to deter Russia.
Noting Russian claims that its fighter jets are in Syria to strike Daesh, the group said: “Russian warplanes have in fact perpetrated several deliberate massacres of civilians and have systematically destroyed critical civilian infrastructure [hospitals, schools, markets] in violation of international law”.
They added that Moscow’s Syria policy is assisting Daesh more than impeding the terrorist group.
The letter came amid wide range of accusations against Russia in terms of its indiscriminate bombings in Syria causing civilian casualties and stranding hundreds of thousands in and around Aleppo province.
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Russian jets have killed over 2,300 people, including 792 women and 180 children since late September when Russia intervened in Syria.
“Russia continues to antagonize NATO member Turkey,” the group underlined. “Unless the U.S. pushes back against both the false information as well as the increasing provocations, it will set a dangerous precedent for NATO allies all over the world threatened by Russia.”
The group also asked for implementing a safe zone in Syria protected by U.S. and its allies in the region to protect civilians against Russian airstrikes.
It also urged the U.S. president to “strongly support NATO ally Turkey’s right to defend itself from Russian threats and provocations”.