(MOSCOW) — Russia’s Foreign Ministry Friday walked back an assessment on Thursday by Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, who suggested that the Syrian rebels might win as President Assad loses his grip on power.
A Foreign Ministry spokesman said Friday that Russia “will never” change its position on Syria, where it favors a diplomatic solution and opposes any international intervention, including backing the rebels. The ministry also pointed out that Bogdanov’s comments included plenty of qualifiers, including a note that Russia doesn’t think a protracted, bloody conflict is worth it to oust Syria’s President Assad.
On Thursday Bogdanov made headlines when he reportedly said, according to Russian media: “We have to face up to reality, the trend is that the Syrian authorities, the Syrian government is increasingly losing control, losing more and more territory. Sadly, a victory by the Syrian opposition cannot be ruled out.”
Responding to comments by the U.S. State Department spokeswoman Thursday that Russia has finally woken up to the reality in Syria, the Russian spokesman said today: “We never slept.”
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Stephanie Halasz, Jason Hanna and Livia Borghese, CNN
Rafael Romo, CNN Newswire