‘We have our plans’: Vladimir Putin warns US against Syria military action
Russian president says it is too early to say what Russia will do but does not exclude supporting a UN resolution
Vladimir Putin has warned the US against launching military action in Syria, stating that Russia has “plans” on how it would react if such a scenario unfolded.
The Russian president’s comments came as Barack Obama for the first time portrayed his plans for US military action as part of a broader strategy to topple Bashar al-Assad, as the White House’s campaign to win over sceptics in Congress gained momentum.
In an interview with Associated Press and Russia’s state Channel 1 television, Putin said it was too early to talk about what Russia would do if the US attacked Syria but added: “We have our ideas about what we will do and how we will do it in case the situation develops toward the use of force or otherwise. We have our plans.”
At the same time he said Russia did not exclude supporting a UN resolution on punitive military strikes if it were proved that Damascus used poison gas on its own people. But he described the idea that Syrian government forces would use chemical weapons at a time when he said they were in the ascendancy and knowing the potential repercussions as absurd. Given his comments, and the fact that Russia has protected Syria from punitive action at the UN security council before, his suggestion that Russia might support a resolution on strikes is unlikely to be given much credence in the US.
Chuck Hagel listens as John Kerry speaks to the Senate foreign relations committee. Photograph: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images
Russia later dispatched a missile cruiser to the eastern Mediterranean, which will arrive in about 10 days. The ship, Moskva, will take over operations from a naval unit in the region that Moscow says is needed to protect national interests. It will be joined by a destroyer from Russia’s Baltic Fleet and a frigate from the Black Sea Fleet.
In the US, senators will begin a series of votes on Wednesday to authorise a 90-day window for US military action against Syria.
A new draft resolution was agreed by leaders of the Senate foreign relations committee after the secretary of state, John Kerry, pressed a forceful case for striking against the Assad regime. Earlier, Obama secured the backing of the Republican leadership at a key White House meeting.
- Putin warns West over Syria action (bbc.co.uk)
- AP Interview: Putin warns West on Syria action (noliesradio.org)
- Putin warns Obama not to attack Syria without UN approval (haaretz.com)
- In Europe, Obama Will Seek Support For Syria Strike (wnyc.org)
- Vladimir Putin warns the west against military action in Syria (metro.co.uk)
- Putin warns US over Syria action (thedailystar.net)
- Russia | Vladimir Putin issues warning to the west (thejournalist.ie)
- Russia does not rule out backing military force in Syria – Putin (indrus.in)