Syria protests - Inside Story
From: Inside Story

Moscow’s shift on Syria

Is Russia buckling under international pressure or trying to reduce the impact of a future Security Council resolution?

Russia has circulated a UN Security Council draft resolution aimed at ending the crisis in Syria.

“Russia has circulated a text, we are ready to work with that text. But let me be clear, we believe we need a Security Council resolution that matches the gravity of the situation on the ground in Syria. And in our view the text circulated by Russia does not do this.

– Mark Lyall Grant, the UK ambassador to the United Nations

It condemns the violence by both Syria’s government and the opposition, but does not mention imposing sanctions.

The US and Europe welcomed the Russian move, but say the draft does not go far enough.

They would like to see international sanctions and a condemnation of human rights violations in the text. They also expressed concern that the draft is as critical of demonstrators as it is of Syrian forces.

Russia has accused the West of trying to use the UN to force regime change in Syria.

But one thing both Russia and the West agree on is that the Arab League should take the lead in trying to negotiate peace in the country. But as yet, there is no consensus on Russia’s draft resolution – and no date scheduled for a vote.

Is Moscow buckling under international pressure, or is it trying to lessen the impact of a future resolution on Syria?

Inside Story, with presenter Dareen Abughaida, discusses with guests: Sergei Strokan, a columnist for the Kommersant newspaper; Ezzedine Choukri Fishere, a professor of political science at the American University in Cairo; and Christopher Swift, a fellow at the Centre for National Security Law at the University of Virginia. 

“We do not believe in sanctions, all sorts have been imposed … creating hardships. This is part of a regime change strategy and we don’t want to be part of it.”

Vitaly Churkin, Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations