Russia has not ruled out accepting a military attack on Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime if it is proven that chemical weapons were used against the people, President Vladimir Putin said in an interview released by the Kremlin on Wednesday.
"I have not ruled it out," Putin said in a joint interview with Russia's Channel 1 and a U.S. wire service when asked whether Moscow would support an attack on Syria if there was evidence that chemical weapons had been used by government forces.
The Russian president, however, said only the U.N. Security Council could authorize the use of military force against a sovereign country since all other actions were "unacceptable and can only be labeled aggression."
"If we have objective facts, exact, regarding who committed these crimes, then there will be a reaction. Saying it now, beforehand, would be incorrect, that is not how you act in politics," the Russian president said in response to a question about whether Moscow would continue supplying arms to Syria.
Russia will take a position based on the principle that "the use of weapons of mass destruction is a crime," Putin said.
"But this raises other questions. If it is demonstrated that the guerrillas used chemical weapons, what will the United States do with the guerrillas? What will the guerrillas' sponsors do? Will they stop supplying arms to them? Will they launch military operations against them? Putin asked.
U.S. President Barack Obama said Saturday he had decided on "military action" against Syria but would seek congressional approval first.
Obama gave no specific date for the strike, saying it would occur when Washington decides.
Congress is beginning to debate authorization for a military strike, with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee scheduled to vote Wednesday on giving Obama a limited timeframe for taking action against Syria.
Over the weekend, U.S. officials stepped up the campaign to sway public opinion in favor of a military strike on Syria.
Secretary of State John Kerry said Sunday the United States had evidence that Syria's government used the nerve agent sarin in an Aug. 21 attack on the outskirts of Damascus.
Hair and blood samples from victims of the attack have "tested positive for signatures of sarin," Kerry said in a series of interviews with U.S. television networks.
The attack killed 1,429 people, U.S. officials say. EFE