MOSCOW – Russian President Vladimir Putin said he has not ruled out backing a U.S.-led military operation in Syria if the Kremlin gets concrete proof than an alleged chemical attack on civilians was committed by Bashar Assad’s government.
“I don’t rule this out,” Putin said during a televised interview with First Channel, a Russian federal television network, and the Associated Press. “But I want to draw your attention to one absolutely principled issue: in accordance with the current international law, a sanction to use arms against a sovereign state can be given only by the U.N. Security Council.”
The Obama administration is engaged in a lobbying effort to convince Congress to back a U.S. strike on Syria without U.N. approval. Late Tuesday, the top Democrat and Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee agreed on language authorizing U.S. military action against Syria, while ruling out the commitment of U.S. ground forces and limiting the window for an attack to 90 days. A committee vote could come as early as Wednesday.
Putin’s interview was recorded Tuesday at his country residence of Novo-Ogaryovo near Moscow, the official Kremlin website that posted it Wednesday morning said.
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