In a wide-ranging interview Tuesday with the Associated Press and Russia‘s state Channel 1 television, Putin said Moscow has provided some components of the S-300 air defense missile system to Syria, but has frozen further shipments. He suggested that Russia may sell the potent missile systems elsewhere if Western nations attack Syria without U.N. Security Council backing.
The interview at Putin’s country residence outside the Russian capital was the only one he granted prior to the summit of G-20 nations in St. Petersburg, which opens Thursday.
Obama and Putin set for collision over Syria at G20 summit
According to the Guardian: The G20 summit, hosted by Putin, had been expected to focus on the world economy and growth, but will now be dominated by the Middle East crisis, even if the formal agenda remains fixed on the slowdown of growth in emerging markets.
U.S. President Obama, speaking during a stopover in Sweden before the summit, denied his political credibility was at stake but admitted relations with Russia had hit a wall. He insisted he had not set the red line requiring a military response if the Syrian government deployed chemical weapons, the Guardian reports.
“The world set a red line when governments representing 98 percent of the world’s population said the use of chemical weapons was abhorrent and passed a treaty forbidding their use even when countries are engaged in war,” he said. “That was not something I just kind of made up, I did not pluck it out of thin air.”
He added: “My credibility is not on the line. The international community’s credibility is on the line because we give lip service to the notion that these international norms are important.”