Russian lawmakers are mounting a fierce defense of U.S. President Donald Trump's national security adviser, who has resigned following reports that he misled White House officials about his contacts with Russia.
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Michael Flynn handed in his resignation late Monday night, conceding that he gave "incomplete information" about his calls with Russia's ambassador to the U.S.
Konstantin Kosachev, chairman of the foreign affairs committee at the upper chamber of the Russian parliament, said in a post on Facebook that firing a national security adviser for his contacts with Russia is "not just paranoia but something even worse."
"Either Trump hasn't found the necessary independence and he's been driven into a corner... or russophobia has permeated the new administration from top to bottom," Kosachev was cited as saying by the RIA Novosti news agency.
Kosachev is head of the upper house of parliament's international affairs committee. Kosachev's counterpart at the lower chamber of the Russian parliament, Alexei Pushkov, tweeted shortly after the announcement that "it was not Flynn who was targeted but relations with Russia."
"It's obvious that Flynn was forced to write the letter of resignation under a certain amount of pressure," Leonid Slutsky, head of the lower house of parliament's foreign affairs committee, was quoted as saying by the RIA news agency.
"The target was Russia-U.S. relations, undermining confidence in the new U.S. administration. We'll see how the situation develops further," he said.