After one Russian dipomat suggested Moscow was already factoring in a defeat for Bashar al-Assad and that time was up for the Syrian dictator, the Foreign Ministry has strongly denied there has been any change it its position.
The Ministry’s spokesman called a Friday morning press conference to dispel any doubts over the issue:
“There is no, has never been and will never be any change in our principal position on the situation in Syria. There is a basis for an international agreement signed by everyone in Geneva, and it does not say that Assad must leave,” said Alexander Lukashevich.
With US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta in Turkey on an unannounced trip to meet US troops authorising the arrival of Patriot missile batteries to the Syrian border today, site inspections are already underway, The Dutch and Germans are also sending two Patriot units. Russia has criticised the deployment, saying it will increase regional instability.