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Russia Is Not Propping Up Syrian Regime, Putin Says

President of Russia Vladimir Putin arrives for a meeting with German President Joachim Gauck, not seen, at Bellevue Palace in Berlin, Germany on Friday.
President of Russia Vladimir Putin arrives for a meeting with German President Joachim Gauck, not seen, at Bellevue Palace in Berlin, Germany on Friday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin denied claims made by Secretary of State Hilary Clinton that Russia is "in effect, propping up" the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

"We don't supply weapons that can be used in civil conflicts," Putin told reporters in Berlin after he met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

"Those who say that Russia is propping up any regime, in this case President Assad unilaterally, all those people are wrong," Putin continued according to CNN. "We have good and long relations with Syria, but we do not support either of the sides."

NPR's Michele Kelemen reports that Clinton said Russia is widely viewed as supporting Assad. As Mark reported, yesterday, Clinton said the world community needs Russia help to stem the violence in Syria.

Remember, Russia has veto power as a member of the U.N. Security Council, so it can reject any enforcement action the international community wants to take.

In related news, the United Nations' top human rights body voted to condemn the Houla massacre, which killed more than 100, mostly women and children, last week.

The AP reports:

"The 47-nation body approved with 41 votes against three a resolution blaming 'pro-regime elements' and government troops for the massacre in the Houla region that sparked international outrage.

"Russia, China and Cuba voted against the U.S.-backed resolution Friday. Two countries abstained and one member didn't vote."

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