Putin: US Sanctions Contradict Its National Interests, Will Backfire

Imposing sanctions on Russia and blaming it for destabilizing Ukraine contradicts US national interests, President Putin said at the BRICS summit in Brazil, emphasizing that declared support of Ukrainians should not be limited to the country’s oligarchs.

Speaking to the press following the BRICS summit in Brazil, Vladimir Putin was asked to comment on the new package of sanctions against Russia announced just minutes earlier by the US President.

Russia Hopes New UN Special Syria Envoy Will Promote Inter-Syrian Dialogue

MOSCOW- Moscow hopes that contacts with the newly appointed UN Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, will promote Syria’s dialogue, Russia’s Foreign Ministry says, according to Itar Tass.

“We seek to promote the process in cooperation with the newly appointed UN Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, international and regional partners,” the ministry says.

“Russia is committed to its position for stabilizing the situation in Syria by political and diplomatic means,” the ministry says.

Churkin thinks it realistic to pass statement banning oil exports by terrorists in Syria

UNITED NATIONS-The United Nations Security Council continues work on Russia-proposed draft statement targeting to fight against illegal oil purchases from terrorists in Syria, Russian Permanent Representative at the United Nations Vitaly Churkin told journalists on Friday, according to Itar Tass.

The document, he said, had all the chances to be finally adopted. “We are working on it. I think there is a real chance for it to be adopted. I hope for that because it is undisputable that terrorism must not be sponsored. And this is the key element of the document. We know that this is happening in Iraq and Syria,” the Russian diplomat said, adding that the document when passed “will send a very powerful signal” to countries warning them to refrain from taking part in deals that might be considered as financing of terrorist activities.

Diplomats: Staffan De Mistura Is New Syria Envoy

UNITED NATIONS-Italian-Swedish diplomat Staffan de Mistura has been chosen by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to replace Lakhdar Brahimi as the international point man on Syria, diplomats said Wednesday.

According to the Associated Press, the diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity ahead of an expected announcement, said de Mistura will be the U.N. envoy — not the joint U.N.-Arab League envoy, as Brahimi was — and will have an Arab deputy.

Lavrov: The use of Sarin by Terrorists

MOSCOW, /ST/- The use of sarin by Syrian "rebels" will dampen the ardor of those who are calling for the forcible change of power in the country, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said following reports about the use of chemical weapons by the armed opposition  in Syria.

“This fact needs no comment. These are the deeds of those who want to collect compromising evidence, speaking informally, in order to justify the use of force for resolving the Syrian crisis. Now those who are defending the task of changing the regime have lost some of their arguments, while those who are demanding an immediate end to the bloodshed and the beginning of a national dialogue have got more arguments,” Lavrov said.

Gatilov: Syria Fulfills its Liabilities on Chemical Disarmament

UNITED NATIONS- The process of chemical disarmament in Syria is finished, with Damascus having fulfilled all its liabilities to the international community, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said on Tuesday, according to Itar Tass.

“We think that Syria has completely fulfilled its liabilities, and what is yet left to be done is not that important in terms of reaching the ultimate goal of complete elimination of Syria’s chemical arsenals,” Gatilov told Russian journalists.

Western countries however continue their attempts at the United Nations Security Council to “cast a shadow” on Damascus alleging it might have concealed some of its stocks of poisonous substances. “Just yesterday, this issue was discussed at the United Nations Security Council. In response to the attempts of Western countries to cavil or find any faults, we put it straight that this situation we think that a full stop has been made in the process of Syria’s chemical disarmament,” he stressed, adding that the level of cooperation demonstrated by Damascus deserved “every praise and positive estimation.”

Eric Holder: U.S. must ready now for Syria threat

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder urged countries in Europe and elsewhere on Tuesday to do more to keep their own citizens from traveling to Syria to fight, saying the world cannot allow Syria to become a training ground for violent extremists.

According to Reuters, in a speech in Norway, Holder said other countries could learn from U.S. efforts to conduct undercover sting operations and use laws against preparing to commit attacks, tactics he said have helped confront the threat in the United States.

British pair who travelled to Syria admit terror charges

Two British men who went to Syria to join "rebel" fighters have pleaded guilty to terrorism charges.

Nahin Ahmed and Yusuf Sarwar, both 22 and from Birmingham, admitted preparing to carry out terrorist acts.

They spent eight months in Syria and were arrested by West Midlands Police's counter-terrorism unit at Heathrow Airport on their return in January.