Russian President Vladimir Putin has denounced a draft United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution that would impose sanctions on the Syrian government over its alleged use of chemical weapons, stressing that Moscow will not support fresh restrictive measures against Damascus.
“In terms of sanctions against the Syrian leadership, I think that now they are completely inappropriate,” Putin told a news conference in Kyrgyzstan’s capital, Bishkek, on Tuesday after meeting his Kyrgyz counterpart, Almazbek Atambayev.
Moscow “will not support any new sanctions in relation to Syria,” Putin added.
The remarks came ahead of a UNSC vote due later on Tuesday on a resolution put forward by France, the US and Britain to blacklist Syrian military commanders and ban the supply of helicopters to Damascus over alleged chemical attacks in 2014 and 2015.
However, Russia has vowed to use its veto power to block the measure against the Syrian government.
This is while the Syrian government has repeatedly denied using banned weapons and accused Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey of providing militants with toxic materials.
Elsewhere in his remarks, Putin said the possible anti-Damascus bans “would undermine trust in the negotiating process” underway in the Swiss city of Geneva, adding, “Russia will not support any new sanctions against the Syrian leadership.”
The latest round of UN-mediated intra-Syrian negotiations began on February 23 aimed at finding a solution to the foreign-sponsored crisis gripping the Arab country since 2011.
‘UNSC resolution to have negative impact on Syria talks’
In a relevant development on Tuesday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov echoed Putin’s comments, saying the UNSC resolution is “counter-constructive” with regard to the Syria peace talks.
Gatilov made the remarks in Geneva after meeting with Bashar al-Ja’afari, Syrian ambassador to the UN and head of the government delegation in the Geneva talks.
“The climate will be negative, not because we will veto it, but because this resolution was put forward,” he said.
Asked if the issue of terrorism should be discussed in the Geneva talks, the Russian official replied, “Definitely yes.”
“Terrorism is a priority. The fight against terrorism is a priority and it should be on the agenda, along with other issues that were suggested that are contained in [the UNSC] resolution 2254,” which was unanimously adopted in December 2015 to help bring an end to the conflict in Syria, he said.
Gatilov’s remarks came after, simultaneous bombings hit the western Syrian city of Homs – which is largely under government control – on Saturday, killing over 50 people. The Jabhat Fateh al-Sham terrorist group, formerly known as al-Nusra Front, claimed responsibility for the attacks.
Ja’afari has called on all parties taking part in the Syria negotiations to condemn the terrorist attacks or be considered “accomplices of terrorism.”