Washington, D.C. – House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) released the following statement after Russian authorities confirmed that a bomb was responsible for downing a Russian airliner over Egypt on October 31, killing 224 people.

“Vladimir Putin’s decision to ignore ISIS has reaped disaster.  By avoiding ISIS, Putin clearly expected to be able to destroy the moderate Syrian opposition without becoming a target of ISIS’s attacks.  That was a failure.  These brutal terrorists are waging war on anyone who disagrees with their violent, apocalyptic world view.

“When Putin saw the murderous Assad regime losing ground to the moderate opposition, it stepped in to solidify the Syrian dictator.  But instead of focusing on ISIS strongholds, Russia has spent weeks bombing opposition forces in Syria backed by the United States and Saudi Arabia.  Russian airstrikes have flattened markets, schools and villages – killing scores of innocents.  And aided by those same Russian airstrikes, ISIS gained ground.

“If we’re going to defeat these terrorists, the Obama administration must push back on Russia’s destabilizing intervention in Syria and lay out the broad, overarching strategy needed to win.”

NOTE: At a November 4 hearing chaired by Rep. Royce on U.S. policy in Syria, the Obama administration acknowledged that instead of targeting ISIS, roughly 90 percent of Russian airstrikes had hit opposition forces backed by the United States and Saudi Arabia.