Part 1 in The Western Demonization of Russia series.
An intense rage filled John Kirby in response to RT journalist Gayane Chichakyan during a State Department Press Briefing on November 16th. Kirby claimed RT was not on the same level as the rest of the people in the briefing, inferring his bias against Russia. Gayane left the briefing abruptly before it was over with a stammer, evidently not happy with Kirby’s choice of words.
Chichakyan followed up on questions posed by another journalist in regards to claims Kirby made about Russia and Syria striking “five hospitals, including one mobile clinic”. Kirby could not produce the source of his data, nor could he name any of the hospitals that were claimed to have been hit all within the same day.
Chichakyan obviously noticed the discrepancy after the following exchange with another journalist when the topic of Syria was brought up:
QUESTION: Can we go to Syria?
MR KIRBY: Sure.
QUESTION: Okay. First of all, can you clarify what is going on in terms of where the Russians are bombing? I mean, some say in Aleppo, but there is no evidence that there is any bombardment of eastern Aleppo by the Russians. There is bombardments of Idlib and Homs and so on, and the countryside of Homs. So first of all, if you have information on where they are bombing and what is going on there.
MR KIRBY: Well, I don’t have – as you know, Said, I don’t have specific tactical information about Russian military operations in terms of grid points and locations on a map. We – I would say, though, that we have seen additional airstrikes now in Syria by Russia and by the regime, to include what has been reported to be – and we have no reason to doubt this because of the sourcing that we’re getting – that five hospitals and at least one mobile clinic in Syria were struck by —
QUESTION: Can say which city the hospitals were in?
MR KIRBY: What’s that?
QUESTION: Which city were the hospitals in?
MR KIRBY: I don’t have the exact location. But – so five hospitals and one mobile clinic. And by all counts, it looks like they were deliberately targeted, all in the span of just the last day or so. It’s also worth noting that despite Russian claims that it halted airstrikes in the past month or so —
QUESTION: Twenty-eight days.
MR KIRBY: — yeah – they’ve allowed no food or humanitarian assistance into east Aleppo. And the regime and Russia have now let Aleppo’s residents starve, all while seeking praise from the international community for halting indiscriminate strikes for three weeks. Again, five hospitals and at least one – maybe more – mobile clinic. That doesn’t sound to me like a halt in indiscriminate attacks.
The journalist then cut off another reporter, and requested if Kirby could give more specifics to what he was claiming, to which, Kirby responded:
MR KIRBY: No, look, it’s a very fluid situation and our knowledge is imperfect. That’s why we say I have seen – we’ve seen reports of these things. And I don’t have specifics for you. I don’t have specific locations —
After another exchange with the other journalist, Chichakyan asked Kirby,
QUESTION: Sorry, don’t you think it is important to give a specific list of hospitals that you’re accusing Russia of hitting? Those are grave accusations.
It was at this point that John Kirby’s temper broke. You can see a short video below, and see the full transcript of the meeting here.