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February 8, 2012 11:11 pm

Russian Efforts in Syria Fail to Stop Assad Crackdown

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Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. Photo: wiki commons.

NY Times – LEBANON – As reports of assaults by Syrian tanks and other forces at several major rebellious areas across Syria continued for a fifth day, Russia’s leaders tried Wednesday to fend off international criticism that they were doing nothing effective to stop the bloodshed, arguing that Moscow’s efforts were far more productive and balanced than the combined Western and Arab plan.

In Moscow, Sergey V. Lavrov, the foreign minister, stressed that Russia would seek to inaugurate open negotiations between the government and the opposition. Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin, the once and likely future president, as well as Dmitri A. Medvedev, the incumbent, weighed in, trumpeting the Kremlin’s effort as unbiased while others were acting like “a bull in a china shop,” as Mr. Putin put it.

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