Relations between the United States and Russia continued to publicly degrade on Tuesday, as a spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry accused the United States of only pretending to fight the Islamic State in Iraq, while intentionally permitting their forces to funnel into Syria where they are engaged with Russian-backed Syrian forces.

Everyone sees that the U.S.-led coalition is pretending to fight Islamic State, above all in Iraq, but continuing to allegedly fight Islamic State in Syria actively for some reason,” said Major-General Igor Konashenkov, a spokesman for Russia’s defense ministry.

According to the Russian general, the United States began to “sharply reduce” the number of air strikes they executed against ISIS forces in Iraq in September, just as the Syrian Army, which is backed by Russian air support, began making significant strides toward retaking the Deir al-Zor province in Syria.  That claimed slump in air strikes then resulted in a flow of Islamic State fighters over the Iraqi border and into the same province, bolstering the terrorist forces and slowing the Syrian/Russian offensive.

He then went on to accuse the United States of choosing to reduce their combat operations against ISIS specifically for the purpose of slowing the momentum of Bashar al-Assad’s troops in Syria.