President Barack Obama is reportedly getting a warning from some House lawmakers: Russian President Vladimir Putin can't be trusted in the fight against ISIS.
"I think Putin has shown his true colors, not only in Syria, but in Ukraine and Crimea and other places like that," New York Democratic Rep. Eliot Engel, the House Foreign Affairs ranking member, tells Roll Call.
"I don't think the Russians can be trusted. Putin says he's going after ISIS, but from what we can see, he's mainly going after the Free Syrian Army or the Kurds or remnants of the people on the ground fighting [Syrian president Bashar] al-Assad."
After the ISIS terror attacks in Paris, Putin announced an alliance with France
in a campaign against the Islamic State group in Syria — and the issue is expected to be discussed next week when Obama meets with French President Francois Hollande, Roll Call reports.
In Malaysia on Sunday, Obama criticized Russia's stepped-up air campaign in Syria as focusing on moderate rebels fighting Assad, and called on Russia to make a "strategic adjustment" and drop its support of the Syrian leader, but he welcomed Moscow "going after" ISIS.
Members of the president's own party, however, are urging skepticism when it comes to Russia's reliability, Roll Call reports.
"He's certainly not going to be a reliable ally," House Intelligence ranking Democrat Adam Schiff tells Roll Call. "There's no trust there for the Russians, and nor should there be."
"They announced they were joining the campaign against ISIS, and promptly bombed everyone but ISIS," the California lawmaker adds. "We're now seeing them putting more of a focus on ISIS than they did before, but they're still going after the moderate opposition."
"They do not share our interests in many respects. They think their only way of aggrandizing themselves is at our expense. So the limits of any partnership with Russia are very real."
Elliott Abrams, deputy national security adviser under President George W. Bush, said Hollande likely will tell Obama he feels "the Russians can be useful."
"Hollande seems to be more open than Obama to working with the Russians," Abrams tells Roll Call. "If he leaves here feeling the U.S. is not willing to do more, he may turn to Russia."
Reuters contributed to this report.
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