(BLOOMBERG) — U.S. actions in the Middle East helped Islamic State to gain influence, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said, according to Interfax.

The strengthening of Islamic State “became possible partly due to irresponsible U.S. politics” that focused on fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad instead of joining efforts to root out terrorism, Medvedev was cited as saying in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday. President Barack Obama earlier on Sunday said that Russia is facing a strategic choice as Assad can’t stay. The Obama administration declined to comment Sunday on Medvedev’s statement.

The U.S. contributed to the strengthening of al-Qaeda, which led to the events of Sept. 11, Interfax reported, citing Medvedev. The terrorist threat can only be fought jointly, he said.

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