Q: What does Putin really fear here?
A: The loss of prestige and sales for his country if the weapons they sell to client states are proven ineffective against NATO military tech.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned America and its allies against taking one-sided action in Syria. He said any military strikes without UN approval would be “an aggression”.
US President Barack Obama has called for punitive action in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack. Mr Putin said Russia did not rule out supporting a UN Security Council resolution authorising force, if it was proved “beyond doubt” that the Syrian government used chemical weapons.
On Tuesday evening, members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee agreed on a draft resolution backing the use of US military force.
President Vladimir Putin’s position on any military action against Syria was in the most part very robust. He said any use of force without a United Nations Security Council resolution would be “an aggression.” He went on to say that although Russia has suspended supplies of the sophisticated S-300 air defence missiles, he would consider supplying S-300s to other regions in the event of an American attack. That could be seen as a veiled threat to supply S-300s to Iran.
But President Putin did leave open the slight chance of a Russian change of position - something he has not done before. He said he did not “exclude” the possibility of Russia supporting a UN Security Council resolution authorising force, if it was proved “beyond doubt” that President Assad used chemical weapons against his own people.
Of course that is a high bar, but it has given him a little wriggle room.
The measure, to be voted on next week, sets a time limit of 60 days on any operation.