Russian President Vladimir Putin says his country will step up aid to Syria if it is hit with a US missile attack.
Putin’s comments came at the recently concluded G20 Summit in St. Petersburg.
Russia has already sent at least three warships to Syria’s western coast. The Russian president has also repeatedly warned the United States not to take unilateral military action by bombing Syria, insisting any decision must come through the U.N. Security Council otherwise it is an act of aggression.
While President Obama has condemned an alleged chemical weapons attack against civilians and called for a congressional vote on military intervention, Putin has insisted that there is no solid proof that the poison gas attack was the work of Bashar Assad’s forces. In fact, at the summit Putin claimed that the chemical weapons deployment was instead a “provocation” by the Syrian rebels in attempt to get help from Western nations.
When asked about Russia’s assistance to the Assad regime in the event of a US military intervention, Putin responded that “Will we help Syria? We will. We are already helping; we send weapons and cooperate in the economic sphere. Add I hope there will be more cooperation in the humanitarian sphere… delivering humanitarian aid to support the civil population.”
Prior to the G2 summit, Putin gave this assessment of Secretary of State John Kerry’s testimony before Congress in which he sought support for a a US airstrike. “This was very unpleasant and surprising for me. We talk to them (the Americans), and we assume they are decent people, but he is lying and he knows that he is lying. This is sad.”
According to AP, “It was unclear exactly what Putin was referencing,” but it may be Kerry’s assertion that the Syrian opposition is dominated by so-called moderate forces rather than by terrorists and extremists.