Even as French President Francois Hollande has declared war on Islamic State and vowed to "destroy" it, Russian President Vladimir Putin today raised some sharp questions about the source of the terrorist organisation's funding.
He said that forty countries were financing the Islamic State and that its main source of income was oil trade. Speaking at the G20 Summit in Turkey on Tuesday, Putin said: "It is impossible to defeat IS without cutting its financing. Even some G20 members do that. IS income comes from oil trade. I showed my colleagues satellite images of endless truck columns."
This harsh criticism of "fight against terror" comes a day after Putin met US President Barack Obama and later British Prime Minister David Cameron, sending out a clear indications that geopolitical strategies and alliances are on the change, in the aftermath of the Paris attacks.
On striking wrong targets in SyriaPutin said that during his interaction with Western leaders, this oft quoted criticism wasn't voiced at all. He also said that it was unfair of the US to accuse Russia of striking at wrong targets.
Here are some major excerpts from his interaction with the media at the summit:
"We have offered cooperation in fighting IS. Unfortunately, our American partners initially refused us. They actually forwarded us a written statement saying they were turning down our proposal. But indeed life goes on. And very rapidly so. Now everyone realises that we would need to start some actual joint activities, joint operations on combating terrorism."
"When people tell us you strike the wrong targets in Syria and we tell them well what are the right targets?Name them, point them, we don't get any feedback. There are reasons for this kind of attitude. They are afraid of designating territories to us which we shouldn't strike. Here they judge us on the basis of hteir own ideas of decency and righteousness."
We have established contacts within the Armed Syrian opposition the so called die hard Syrian operation who have requested us not strike at some of the territories. We have delivered those commitments. Part of the Syrian opposition believes it possible military engagement against IS provided we give our air support. We are ready to provide to them. That way Syrian President Bashar-al Assad and the Opposition would be waging war against a common enemy, which is necessary for a political settlement in Syria. In fact, the idea has been discussed and French President Hollande proposed it.
On the issue of changing perception of the US and UK about Russia's role in fighting terrorism:
We never rejected better relations with any of our partners, be that in the West or in the East. Any action on their part curbing or limiting our collaborations have been initiated by our partners. If our partners believe that it is time to change our relationship now, we have nothing against that.
Terrorism-- the focus of G 20
The G20 Summit, which commenced, hours after multiple terror attacks in Paris that claimed 129 lives, focused on terrorism and the ways to combat it.
Even Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while speaking at the Summit said that terrorism should be delinked from religion and countries that harbour it should be isolated.