(Instigator News) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has agreed to set up a joint military operation with France to combat the Islamic State ISIS. Moscow says the move follows a telephone conversation with French President Francois Hollande.
This comes after ISIS admitted responsibility for the Paris attacks, which killed at least 129 people and wounded over 350, and after Moscow confirmed that a bomb caused the Oct. 31 Metrojet plane crash in Egypt.
Russia has offered a $50 million reward for information leading to the capture of those responsible for the crash.
Putin has ordered the Russian Navy to contact its French counterparts, and to work together as allies. Russia has already joined France in launching fresh airstrikes against ISIS targets in its stronghold of Raqqa in Syria.
Of even more significance, France has invoked an EU treaty collective defense article requesting military help from its European partners in response to the terror attacks in Paris. EU officials say the mutual defense article is being used for the first time.
The assistance would come from 28 European partners under Article 42.7 of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty, which outlines mutual defense among the EU members. Called the ‘mutual defense clause’, the Article reads that if any EU country “is the victim of armed aggression on its territory, the other Member States shall have towards it an obligation of aid and assistance by all the means in their power.”
This mutual defense agreement is independent of any binding agreements with NATO or the United States.
Speaking at a press conference in Brussels on Tuesday, French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said all 28 EU member states unanimously accepted France’s formal call for “aid and assistance” under the EU treaty and he expected all to help quickly in various regions.
France launched a massive air campaign against ISIS targets in Raqqa, Syria, following Friday’s terrorist attacks in Paris. On Sunday, 12 French aircraft, including 10 fighter jets, took part in the country’s biggest air raid over Syria. The strike, coordinated with the United States, was carried out simultaneously from Jordan and the United Arab Emirates.
On Monday, Russia announced that the plane crash in Sinai, Egypt was caused by a terrorist attack, as traces of explosives were found in the wreckage of the plane.
“We can say that the [Sinai plane crash] was a terror act,” Russian Federal Security Service director Aleksandr Bortnikov reportedly told Putin. According to the FSB chief, experts analyzed passengers’ belongings as well as the parts of the plane. “After the examination on all these objects, we have found traces of a foreign-made explosive substance,” Bortnikov said.
“During the flight, a homemade device with the power of 1.5 kilograms of TNT was detonated. As a result, the plane fell apart in the air, which can be explained by the huge scattering of the fuselage parts of the plane.”
Sources: SkyNews, Reuters, rt.com