Russia roundup: foreign ministry scolds Syria, has harsh words for US and EU


President Vladimir Putin (L) and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov meet Russian Ambassadors in the Foreign Ministry, in Moscow, on July 9, 2012. Putin said Syria needed a dialogue between the regime and opposition forces to ensure a lasting peace.


Alexander Nemenov

The Russian foreign ministry has been busy in the past 24 hours — mainly taking positions related to Syria.

Today, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov blasted Western nations that have not condemned attacks on members of Syrian President Bashar al Assad's inner circle. Specifically, he accused the United States of "justifying terrorism" after a State Department spokeswoman characterized attacks against the regime as unsurprising, Reuters reported.

"This is a direct justification of terrorism," Lavrov reportedly said of spokeswoman Victoria Nuland's comments, which indicated such attacks were not surprising given the Syrian government's conduct.

Also today, the ministry dubbed new European Union sanctions against Syria as "counterproductive" for resolving the crisis there, Reuters reported.

But Russia didn't save all its criticism for Western nations. The foreign ministry has also told the Syrian government — its sole ally in the Middle East — that its threats to use chemical weapons are unacceptable.

The ministry "laid out in an extremely clear form Russia's position on the inadmissibility of any threats of the use of chemical weapons" during a meeting between Syria's ambassador to Moscow and Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister, Mikhail Bogdanov, Reuters reported.

The Associated Press noted that Russia seemed somewhat irritated to have to remind the Assad regime that it is obligated under an international convention to ban the use of chemical weapons.

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