Russia responds to ‘manure salesmen’ comment from White House

A White House official called Russian claims that the Crocus City attack may have been directed by Kiev “nonsense and propaganda”

Russia has responded after a senior White House official accused it of spreading “manure” by claiming that Ukraine may be linked to last week’s terrorist attack near Moscow. Moscow believes the attack may have been masterminded by Ukrainian special services who used a group of radical Islamists to carry it out. Washington has urged the world to accept the claim of responsibility by ISIS-K, an Afghanistan-based offshoot of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS). At a press briefing on Thursday, White House National Security Communications Adviser John Kirby called the Russian skepticism “nonsense and propaganda.” He added that it reminds him of his uncle, a small farm owner in Florida. “He used to say that the best manure salesmen often carried their samples in their mouths,” Kirby said. “Russian officials seem to be pretty good manure salesmen.”

“We don’t have such proverbs in Russia, because they carry manure in their mouths over the ocean, and not here,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova responded in a social media post. “This explains why the expression ‘to wash one’s mouth out with soap’ is so popular in the US.” Kirby’s criticisms focused on a security alert that the US sent to Russia in early March about an imminent terrorist attack. Washington provided “clear, detailed information” about it, he told journalists, and reiterated that it is “abundantly clear that ISIS was solely responsible.” Hours after the massacre, Kirby stated that the US had “no advanced knowledge” about the plot. According to Russian officials, the warning two weeks prior was “of a general nature.” The New York Times said this week that “the adversarial relationship between Washington and Moscow prevented US officials from sharing any information about the plot beyond what was necessary.” The Russian Investigative Committee reported on Thursday that it had identified cryptocurrency transfers to the suspected terrorists from what it believes to be accounts of radical nationalist forces in Ukraine.

The four people identified as the perpetrators were detained in a Russian region that borders Ukraine. In a video filmed at the time, one of them claimed that they were promised $5,400 each for the indiscriminate act of mass murder.