Moscow says British FM's Syria comments 'Russophobic hysteria'

Moscow (AFP) - Moscow on Wednesday hit out at British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson for accusing Russia of committing war crimes in Syria, dismissing his comments as "Russophobic hysteria."

Johnson on Tuesday called for protests outside the Russian embassy in London over Moscow's intervention in Syria backing President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

He had earlier said that Russian attacks in the war-ravaged city of Aleppo were "unquestionably a war crime."

Russian defence ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said in a statement that Johnson's "accusing Russia of all mortal sins" was just a "storm in a teacup."

"The Russophobic hysteria that is regularly fuelled by certain members of the British establishment has not been taken seriously for a long time," he said.

Konashenkov said the Russian air force was not responsible for the bombing of a UN convoy in the Aleppo region last month and accused Britain of withholding the evidence it says it has against Russia.

"The alleged 'evidence' you say you have won't be worth a penny if it is made available to everyone," he said.

Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Tuesday that Moscow was "truly ashamed for" Johnson over his comments.

Moscow has been backing a fierce Syrian regime onslaught against rebel-held, besieged areas in eastern Aleppo, sparking widespread accusations, particularly in the West, of potential war crimes.

President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday cancelled a visit to France in a furious row over Moscow's role in the Syrian conflict.

The cancellation came a day after French President Francois Hollande said Syrian forces had committed a "war crime" in the battered city of Aleppo with the support of Russian air strikes.

Russia on Saturday vetoed a UN draft resolution on stopping Russian and Syrian regime air strikes, with the United States calling for a war crimes probe into the carnage.