Manic Monday for US, Russian Diplomacy

The US government is suspending efforts to bring about a ceasefire in Syria with the help of Russia, the State Department announced Monday. ?“Unfortunately, Russia failed to live up to its own commitments…and was also either unwilling or unable to ensure Syrian regime adherence to the arrangements to which Moscow agreed,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said in a statement. Kirby said Russian and Syrian government forces have targeted hospitals and disrupted humanitarian efforts, including through the Sept. 19 attack on an aid convoy that killed 20 people. US personnel who had been dispatched to establish a joint implementation center will be withdrawn, according to the statement. The channel between the US and Russian militaries used to deconflict air operations in Syria will remain open. But the ceasefire agreement wasn’t the only deal between the two governments that came apart this week. Earlier on Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin suspended an agreement—signed in 2000, but not effective until 2010—for each government to dispose of 34 tonnes of weapons-grade plutonium due to “unfriendly actions” by the United States, according to Reuters.