Russia in warning to West
Russia has appeared to end any hope of securing UN approval for military intervention in Syria as it reiterated support for the Assad regime and warned that unilateral Western action would be "a very grave violation of international law".
As the US, Britain and France edged closer to approving military strikes in response to the alleged use of chemical weapons, the Kremlin said yesterday the West was moving down "a very dangerous path".
Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, said: "The use of force without the approval of the United Nations Security Council is a very grave violation of international law."
Russia would almost certainly use its position as one of the five permanent members of the Security Council to veto a resolution authorising military action.
Mr Lavrov compared the situation to the run-up the Iraq War in 2003.
"The intimidation campaign has already begun; the events in Iraq 10 years ago and in Libya more recently began the same way," he said.
While Western governments are convinced that the Syrian regime was responsible for last week's chemical weapons attack in Damascus, Mr Lavrov said "they have not been able to come up with any proof".
China also called for a "cautious" approach. "All parties should handle the chemical weapons issue cautiously to avoid interfering in the overall direction of solving the Syria issue through political settlement," Wang Yi, the foreign minister, said. (© Daily Telegraph, London)