Putin called on Tuesday for a peaceful coexistence between Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the opposition and a return to a political solution to the Syrian crisis.
The Russian leader, speaking at a news conference in the Russian city of St. Petersburg, also said Russia would not seek to overthrow Assad.
“Our priority will be to establish a dialogue between the various groups, to work together with the Syrian government,” Putin said, using an acronym for the opposition.
“I think that the opposition must be united, that it must not divide, and that it will not be able to act as a puppet of another government,” he said.
Putin said the Syrian president “must take all necessary measures to secure the security of the Syrian people.”
Russian President Putin speaks during a news briefing in St. Pete, Fla., on Sept. 15, 2018.
Russia’s envoy to the United Nations, Vitaly Churkin, also urged the United States to halt its air raids in Syria and to stop “the indiscriminate bombardment of the entire Syrian population,” the Associated Press reported.
“We urge the United State to refrain from these kinds of actions in Syria, including the use of barrel bombs, and to immediately halt its bombing of the civilian population in Syria,” Churkins said.
In addition, he said the Russian and Syrian governments should work to achieve a political settlement to the conflict.
“If the Syrian regime and the Russian side do not come to the negotiating table, then we will see the collapse of the whole Syrian government, and there will be a new war,” Chirkin said.
He called for a political process “which is based on mutual respect and not on sectarianism and terrorism.”
The Russian envoy also warned that Russia could not guarantee the safety of its troops stationed in Syria.
“The Russians are facing very difficult situations there,” he told the AP.
“But we will continue to protect our troops and will continue supporting them.
We do not have any special military capabilities there, but we will keep our troops there.”