Russia will continue its military support of Syria, including sending personnel to the embattled country, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies.
“There were military supplies, they are ongoing and they will continue. They are inevitably accompanied by Russian specialists, who help to adjust the equipment, to train Syrian personnel how to use these weaponry,” Lavrov said on Sunday.
Moscow has come under increased international pressure in recent days over what Washington and Gulf states said is a Russian military build-up in Syria, where the Kremlin has been supporting President Bashar al-Assad in a four and-a-half-year war.
Lavrov also said that Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is travelling to New York for the UN General Assembly meeting later this month, plans to address the assembly on the topics of Syria, the conflict in Ukraine, the state of the global economy and sanctions against Russia.
“He (Putin) will touch specific aspects, such as Syria, the Ukraine crisis. All these crises arise from systemic problems regarding attempts to freeze the process of forming polycentric world,” Lavrov said.
The United States and its allies oppose Assad, whose government has been fighting an array of armed groups including the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)
A US-led coalition is conducting air strikes on ISIL.
Moscow said its military assistance to the Syrian army is in line with international law, and that Russian servicemen, including military experts, have been present inside Syria for many years, including before the start of the war.
The Syrian civil war in which around 250,000 people have died has caused nearly half Syria’s pre-war 23 million strong population to flee, with many thousands attempting to reach Europe.
Lavrov was quoted as saying that Russia is and will continue taking in those who qualify as refugees.
Russia is under Western sanctions due to its role in a conflict in Ukraine between pro-Russian rebels and Ukrainian forces.