Results tagged “Russia”
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After US Secretary of State Kerry said rhetorically that the US would not strike Syria if it handed over all of its chemical weapons in a week, Foreign Minister Lavrov appeared to back the request in principle, saying that "[w]e have given our proposal to Syria's Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem and are counting on a fast and, I hope, positive response." Lavrov said: "[W]e are calling on the Syrian leadership to not only agree on placing chemical weapons storage sites under international control, but also on [their] subsequent destruction and fully joining the treaty on the prohibition of chemical weapons." Russia asked the IAEA to assess the impact of possible US strikes on Syrian nuclear reactors.
Russia is sending additional ships toward Syria; the Defense Ministry said the Russian ships are to guarantee stability and "attempt to hold back other forces ready to start military action in the region." He also said the Russian navy "does not intend to take part directly or indirectly in a possible regional conflict." Another Russian official said the ships' purpose is "primarily" to evacuate Russian citizens from Syria if need be.
President Putin warned that any US strikes against Syria would be "an aggression," but said Russia would act "in the most decisive and serious way" if there was clear proof presented to the UN of what weapons were used and who used them. He also said a US strike would not be aggression if it were self-defense but that in this case Syria has not attacked the US. The Foreign Ministry accused pro-intervention nations of playing down evidence suggesting that Syrian rebels conducted the Aug. 21 chemical attack; it also warned of the threat that a military intervention might hit a nuclear reactor near Damascus.
A top aide to President Vladimir Putin said that "[f]or the moment, Russia is working actively to avoid any kind of scenario involving force," in response to reports of an imminent US strike on Assad regime targets in Syria. Russia is continuing to supply the regime with weapons. Experts say the deployment of two Russian ships to the area is mainly a political, symbolic gesture.