>> A scathing accusation against the United States Tuesday coming from Russia. The Russian Defense Ministry claiming the US is only pretending to press its military campaign against Islamic State. Saying the US has been reducing air strikes against ISIS in Iraq to let militants pour into Syria. The purported reason to slow down the Russian backed Syrian army as it retakes lost territory in the east of the country.
Foreign policy reporter Warren Strobel says the Russian claims should be viewed with healthy skepticism.>> So the Pentagon has denied today what the Russians have said. And there's no reason to believe that the US is deliberately reducing the number of air strikes in Iraq in order to make trouble for Russia in Syria.
The fact is the number of air strikes in Iraq by the United States and the coalition has fallen significantly since last year if you look at the numbers. But the reason is that there are few targets. The Islamic state has been ejected from vast parts of Iraq.>> Russia says the US led coalition sharply reduced airstrikes in Iraq in September.
As a result, Russia says, ISIS militants streamed over the border. The Russian claim coming as the Islamic state nears collapse in Iraq. After a string of losses to Iraqi forces backed by the US. ISIS also under strain in Syria. Where government troops have already retaken much of the country from a variety of groups fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the country's six year civil war.
But Strobel says progress has been slow in the east. A possible reason for the Russian claims.>> It's hard to know exactly what the Russians had in mind by making this accusation in such a public manner. But part of it could be just frustration. One of the most active Islamic state areas now is in southeastern Syria.
Syrian forces backed by the Russians are trying to retake that area. It's been going slow. Just today, or yesterday, we had an incident where a Russian aircraft crashed.>> The Russian accusations come amid rising tensions between Washington and Moscow, also at odds over North Korea and Iran.