Putin says Russia recognizes need for change in Syria, repeats call for dialogue

Associated Press

MOSCOW - Vladimir Putin says Russia realizes changes in Syria are needed but is concerned that the push to unseat President Bashar Assad's regime could plunge the country even deeper into violence.

The Russian president says that Moscow stands for a settlement that would "prevent the country from breakup and an endless civil war."

"Agreements based on a military victory can't be efficient," he said Thursday at his annual marathon news conference.

Russia has repeatedly said that its stance on the Syrian crisis is not aimed at propping up Assad.

"We are not preoccupied that much with the fate of the Assad regime; we realize what's going on there and that the family has been in power for 40 years," Putin said. "Undoubtedly, there is a call for changes."

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