Russia slams Charlie Hebdo cartoons on Egypt crash, calls it 'sacrilege'

‘Dangers of Russian low-cost airlines, I should have taken Air Cocaine’, says one cartoon

Moscow: The Kremlin on Friday angrily condemned France's Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine for publishing political cartoons on the Egypt plane crash in which 224 people died, most of them Russian tourists.

"In our country we can sum this up in a single word: sacrilege," President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists.

"This has nothing to do with democracy or self-expression. It is sacrilege."

The Kremlin spokesman called the cartoons "unacceptable" but said Russia would not make an official complaint.

One cartoon shows debris and human remains raining down on an armed IS militant, with the caption: "IS: Russian aviation is intensifying bombardments," a reference to its air strikes in Syria.

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Another shows a skull with a pair of sunglasses hanging off it with the crashed plane in the background.

It is titled "The dangers of Russian low-cost airlines", and the speech bubble says "I should have taken Air Cocaine," a reference to a current scandal over French pilots smuggling drugs from the Dominican Republic.

Jihadist gunmen shot dead 12 people in and around Charlie Hebdo's offices in January enraged at its cartoons of Prophet Mohammed.

On Russian-language Twitter, hashtags "Charlie Hebdo" and "I'm not Charlie" were among the top trends on Friday.

Writing on Twitter, the lower house of parliament's international affairs chief Alexei Pushkov asked: "Is there any limit to Russophobia on the pages of Western media?

"As the whole world condoles with us, Charlie Hebdo preaches its vile right to sacrilege."

Russian state television news gave lengthy coverage to criticism of the Charlie Hebdo cartoons, which it did not show.

"It's not satire but filthy mockery," said the deputy speaker of the lower house, Ivan Melnikov, in televised comments.

"Is anyone else 'Charlie'?" asked foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova on Facebook, referring to the message "Je Suis Charlie" circulated by the magazine's supporters after the massacre.

The cartoons, published on Wednesday, have not been widely covered in French media.

Both Washington and London say a bomb may have downed the Russian plane carrying tourists from the Sinai peninsula resort of Sharm el-Sheikh but Cairo and Moscow have sought to downplay the suggestion of an attack.

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( Source : AFP )
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