Russia gloats at UK's Chilcot Inquiry into Iraq War

Russia gloats at UK's Chilcot Inquiry into Iraq War
3 min read
07 Jul, 2016
When John Chilcot released a critical report on Tony Blair's handling of the Iraq invasion, the Russian embassy were quick to rub the UK's nose in the failed war.
Putin has come under fire from pro-democracy protesters in Russia and Europe [AFP]

Russia has welcomed the Chilcot Inquiry into the UK's invasion of Iraq, saying it will help "destroy the climate of impunity" in the West.

Konstantin Dolgov - the foreign ministry's commissioner for human rights, democracy and supremacy of law - said that the findings released on Wednesday upholds Moscow's insistence at the time of the 2003 invasion that the UK and US' actions were illegal.

"First assessments that we hear allow us to say that Russia's position was absolutely reasonable and legitimate. There were no legal grounds for the US-led Iraq invasion," Russia's state news agency TASS reported.

Those who have fallen victim of Russia's own military endeavours or tough-handed security personnel believe Russia's condemnation is hypocritical.

New Cold War

Relations between the UK and Russia have been fraught since Vladimir Putin became leader, despite a brief honeymoon period.

The killing of Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko in London in 2006, ensured that relations would remain frosty between the two countries.

A UK inquiry into his death found it likely that Moscow ordered his killing.

Russia has been condemned by numerous pro-democracy and human rights campaigners for suppressing free speech and intelligence agents are suspected of killing of opponents of Putin.

NGOs such as Doctors Without Borders have also slammed Moscow's intervention in Syria, with human rights groups saying that Russian war planes appear to be deliberately targeting hospitals, schools and bakeries in rebel-held areas.

Russia launched air raids on rebel positions last September from its airbase in Syria's Latakia province to help prop up President Bashar al-Assad's regime, which had suffered a series of setbacks on the battlefield.

Since then Russian bombing has killed around 2,500 Syrian civilians - including almost 600 children - and forced hundreds of thousands to flee their homes.


These mass civilian casualties - which Moscow still denies - did not stop Russia from taking the moral high ground when Sir John Chilcot's seven-year inquiry into the US-UK invasion of Iraq was published on Wednesday.

"[The inquiry] should give an additional impetus to efforts of public and human rights organisations, politicians who think that investigations should be conducted after all," Dolgov said.

"This is also very important from the point of view of overcoming the climate of impunity which, unfortunately, still exists in Western countries, in particular in the United States and Great Britain."

Chilcot's report condemned intelligence failings and Blair's dogged insistence of going to war, which resulted in as many as 600,000 Iraqis being killed after a civil war was unleashed on the country.

The Iraq War Inquiry made it clear that Blair and President George Bush's lack of preparation for a post-invasion Iraq plan was largely responsible for the disaster.

Families of British soldiers killed in the war gathered outside the building the Chilcot Inquiry was released, and blamed Blair for their deaths.

Moments after the report was released, the Russian embassy in London posted this gloating tweet about the findings: