Top Russian officials have slammed the resignation of White House Security Advisor Michael Flynn as “Russophobic paranoia.”
Konstantin Kosachev, the head of the International Affairs Committee in Federation Council, Russia’s upper house of parliament, said that Flynn’s departure could be a sign that U.S. President Donald Trump was already “backed into a corner.”
"Even willingness to engage in dialogue with the Russia is perceived by the hawks in Washington as thoughtcrime (in the words of immortal George Orwell),” Kosachev wrote on Facebook.
"Either Trump does not have the independence he needs and has been cornered, or Russophobia has struck the new administration from the top down," the senator said.
Alexey Pushkov, a fellow senator and member of the Defense and Security Committee in the Federation Council, also bemoaned Flynn’s departure on Twitter.
Flynn "resigned" not because of his little mistake [with the Russian ambassador], but thanks to an aggressive campaign,” he wrote. "’Russia’s on the way out!’ the press screeches. It’s nothing but paranoia and a witch hunt.”
U.S. National Security Advisor Michael Flynn resigned Monday night following allegations that he secretly discussed sanctions with Russia’s ambassador to Washington before the Trump administration came to power.
Flynn repeatedly told the press that he had not talked about sanctions with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak prior to President Trump’s inauguration, but then appeared to change his mind when confronted by the press.
In his resignation letter, Flynn said that he had “inadvertently briefed the Vice President-elect and others with incomplete information” on his phone calls with Kislyak.
Unverified sources also claim that that Flynn may have influenced Moscow's foreign policy by urging Russian diplomats not to “overreact” to sanctions placed on Moscow by the Obama administration - arguably leading the Kremlin to believe that the measures would soon be lifted under Trump.
The Washington Post and The New York Times also both reported that Flynn was in contact with Russian diplomats before Trump’s election in November 2016. The U.S. administration and the Kremlin have both denied making contact with each other during Trump’s campaign.