MANILA, Philippines – Russian President Vladimir Putin is warning the West, particularly the United States, against launching a military strike on Syria, in an interview published Wednesday, September 4.
Putin, in an interview with the Associated Press and the state-owned Channel 1 television conducted Tuesday, September 3, said a unilateral action on Syria without the backing of the United Nations (UN) will be a show of aggression.
He told AP that Russia “doesn’t exclude” the backing of any action against Syria presented before the UN, as long as there is evidence the Syrian regime did use chemical weapons against its people.
Putin said the US must seek the approval of the UN Security Council, and the proof should be “a deep and specific probe containing evidence that would be obvious and prove beyond doubt who did it and what means were used.”
He said it is “absolutely absurd” for Assad’s forces to use chemical weapons when they realize that “it could serve as a pretext for applying sanctions against them, including the use of force.”
The evidence on the alleged chemical attack should be given to the UNSC and “ought to be convincing.”
Putin said they have “plans” on what to do in case the Syria situation escalates.
“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.”
In addition, Putin also warned that they might sell their S-300 air defense missile system to other nations if a unilateral attack on Syria happens.
He said Syria did get some components of the said system from Russia, and has suspended delivery “for now.”
US-Russia relations, gay rights, Snowden
The interview also touched on the frosty relationship between Russia and the US. In particular, Putin said he hopes to have “serious discussions” at the sidelines of the G20 summit, scheduled to start Thursday, September 5, in St Petersburg.
“We work, we argue about some issues. We are human. Sometimes one of us gets vexed. But I would like to repeat once again that global mutual interests form a good basis for finding a joint solution to our problems,” AP quoted Putin as saying.
In the interview, Putin also denied that his country has anti-gay laws, saying athletes and activists will be safe during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
He said Obama can meet with LGBT activists, and said he could also meet with them.
He also confirmed Edward Snowden’s presence in Russia, but told the AP their country’s security services are working with Snowden.
Putin said the US bungled in their attempts to capture the fugitive Snowden.
The interview, conducted in his Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow, was the only one he granted prior to the G20 summit. – KD Suarez/Rappler.com