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'Storm in a teacup': Russia dismisses claims of Aleppo war crimes

Moscow also accuses British foreign minister of 'Russophobic hysteria' after he called for demonstrations outside embassy in London
Hundreds of people have been killed by Russian bombs in rebel-held east Aleppo (AFP)

Moscow on Wednesday hit out at the British foreign minister for accusing Russia of committing war crimes in Syria, dismissing his comments as "Russophobic hysteria".

Boris Johnson on Tuesday called for protests outside the Russian embassy in London over Moscow's intervention in Syria backing President Bashar al-Assad's government.

He had earlier said that Russian attacks in the war-ravaged city of Aleppo were "unquestionably a war crime".

Igor Konashenkov, a Russian defence ministry spokesman, said Johnson's "accusing Russia of all mortal sins" was just a "storm in a teacup".

"The Russophobic hysteria that is regularly fuelled by certain members of the British establishment has not been taken seriously for a long time," he said. 

Konashenkov said the Russian air force was not responsible for the bombing of a UN convoy in the Aleppo region last month and accused Britain of withholding the evidence it says it has against Russia.

"The alleged 'evidence' you say you have won't be worth a penny if it is made available to everyone," he said. 

Russia's foreign ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, said on Tuesday that Moscow was "truly ashamed for" Johnson over his comments. 

Moscow has been backing a fierce Syrian government onslaught against rebel-held, besieged areas in eastern Aleppo, sparking widespread accusations, particularly in the West, of potential war crimes.

On Tuesday, activists in the city said Russia had intensified its bombing after a lull over the last few days.

President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday cancelled a visit to France in a furious row over Moscow's role in the Syrian conflict.

The cancellation came a day after French President Francois Hollande said Syrian forces had committed a "war crime" in Aleppo with the support of Russian air strikes.

Russia on Saturday vetoed a UN draft resolution on stopping Russian and Syrian government air strikes, with the United States calling for a war crimes probe into the carnage.

Turkey meanwhile said on Wednesday it feared the world would be plunged into a global conflict with superpowers Russia and the US on opposing sides if the proxy war in Syria continued.

"If this proxy war continues, after this, let me be clear, America and Russia will come to a point of war," Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus told the state news agency Anadolu.

Kurtulmus warned that the Syrian conflict had put the world "on the brink of the beginning of a large regional or global war".

This article is available in French on Middle East Eye French edition. 

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