Early Sunday morning Donald Trump held a press conference at the White House to announce that U.S. military forces had allegedly killed the leader of ISIS.
During his speech, Trump thanked Russia for its alleged involvement in the killing of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
“[The Russians] were very cooperative, they really were good… Russia treated us great. They opened up, we had to fly over certain Russia areas, Russia-held areas. Russia was great.”
Russia says Trump’s statements are “propaganda.”
Major General Igor Konashenkov the Russian defense minister Konashenkov, refuted Trump’s statement.
“The Russian Defense Ministry has no reliable information about U.S. servicemen conducting an operation for ‘yet another’ elimination of the former Daesh leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in the Turkish-controlled part of the Idlib de-escalation zone.”
Konashenkov would go on to state that Trump’s claim that Russia provided access to U.S. air units entering airspace over the Idlib de-escalation zone during that mission in Syria.
Russia’s state media also shot down Trump’s story with headlines like “The Russian Defense Ministry does not believe in al-Baghdadi’s liquidation.”
Major General Igor Konashenkov stated that Trump’s changing details of the operation and adding alleged participants and various countries that supposedly took part in the raid, “each with completely contradictory details,” which Konashenkov said “raises reasonable questions and doubts about [the operation’s] veracity, not to mention success.”
The Daily Beast reports that “Konashenkov said that the entire territory of the Idlib de-escalation zone that is not under control of the Assad government is in the grip of the Syrian branch of Al-Qaeda—the terrorist group Jebhat al-Nusra—which he argued ‘always uncompromisingly exterminated any ISIS representatives on the spot as the main rivals for power in Syria.’ Therefore, Konashenkov does not believe President Trump’s claims that the former ISIS leader could be quietly hiding in the territory controlled by Syrian Al-Qaeda, demanding “at least some direct evidence from the United States or other participants in the operation.”
Konashenkov also noted that al-Baghdadi was supposedly “eliminated” multiple times and each claim was later disproven.
On Sunday, state TV propagandist Dmitry Kiselyov took a hard jab at the United States, exclaiming that “except for Russia and Syria, no one has ever seriously fought against ISIS.” Kiselyov made fun of Trump’s claim that America is “protecting the oil fields in Syria,” stating that “Americans are in Syria illegally. Sooner or later, they will have to get out of there completely. Let them guard their oil—in another hemisphere.”
Russia believes that Trump’s claims are “propaganda” and designed to help get him re-elected,
Denis Davydov, Russian state TV correspondent in the U.S. stated that “Trump has elections coming up in a year and this announcement of al-Baghdadi’s liquidation will add some points for the Commander-in-Chief.”