Russian Ambassador in Croatia on “Barbaric Aggression” in Syria

By 15 April 2018

ZAGREB, April 15, 2018 - Russia's Ambassador to Croatia Anvar Azimov said on Saturday that the Western military attack on Syria was an act of barbaric aggression, adding that Russia would not intervene militarily as long as there were no Russian casualties.

"We do not consider this barbaric act by the United States and its satellites a military action. No, it is a clear act of aggression on a sovereign country," Azimov said in an interview with the Nova TV commercial television network on Saturday evening. "Who gave them the right to attack? The United States and its satellites are trying to undermine international law. They are behaving like gangsters. It's not civilised," he added.

Azimov said that the main purpose of the attack was to prevent an investigation by experts from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, who are already in Syria and were to visit eastern Ghouta on Saturday. There is no evidence for now that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons, Azimov said.

He pointed out that Russia would continue to assist al-Assad's forces more than it had so far "by taking defence actions and supplying them with a new anti-missile system so that they can better defend their country."

The ambassador noted that Russia's role in Syria was not to support al-Assad but to deal a blow to international terrorism. "Al-Assad is an important factor of stability and is defending the state of Syria. You know what happened in Iraq, Libya, Yemen. We don't want that to happen in Syria. We are not defending al-Assad, but he is the only legitimate leader of his country," he said.

Since the airstrikes did not target the part of the territory controlled by the Russians, there were no casualties or damage on the Russian side, and Russia will not respond militarily for now, Azimov said and warned: "If any of the Russians is hurt, we will respond."

The ambassador dismissed the possibility that there might be an escalation of the conflict between Russia and the US which would justify fears of a Third World War. "I am certain there will not be a Third World War. Russia is a responsible country and will work more on a political solution to the situation. At the same time, we will support the regime of Bashar al-Assad militarily more than we have so far. But I wish to say once again, we do not want to escalate the situation. We will not attack American targets, although Russia could do that. I assure you that militarily Russia is much stronger than the US and all its satellites, but we are also much more responsible," Azimov said.