U.S. Slams 'Russian Attempts' to Miscast Lebanon Protests as 'U.S. Plot'
The U.S. State Department on Monday accused the Russian government of seeking to “cast doubt on the authenticity of the Lebanese people’s demand to end endemic corruption.”
“Russian attempts to miscast the Lebanese people’s resolve as a U.S. plot follow a well-worn playbook,” State Department Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said.
“We proudly stand with the Lebanese people,” she added.
A senior Russian official earlier this month said Moscow rejects "external attempts to interfere in Lebanese affairs" or foment demonstrations. He didn't specify the United States.
"This is simply incorrect," Ortagus said in her statement. She listed U.S. assistance to the Lebanese armed forces and humanitarian aid over the past decade as proof of Washington's support for the Lebanese people and institutions.
A last batch of $105 million of U.S. assistance to the Lebanese Armed Forces has not yet been transferred to the State Department account where it can be used to fund purchases of U.S. equipment.
The delay has prompted questions from Congress, which was notified in September that it would be spent. State Department officials said it is awaiting final approval from the White House before being transferred and that no shipments to the army have been affected.