Putin signals will continue current support for Syria

Reuters
Russian President Putin speaks to the media during a news conference at the G20 summit in St. Petersburg
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Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks to the media during a news conference at the G20 summit in St. …

ST PETERSBURG, Russia (Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin made clear on Friday that Russia did not want to be sucked into a war over Syria, signaling that Moscow would maintain current levels of support to Damascus in the case of foreign military intervention.

Asked at the end of a Group of Twenty summit whether Russia would help Syria in such circumstances, Putin made no reference to defending the Middle Eastern nation or increasing military assistance.

"Will we help Syria? We will. We are helping them now. We supply weapons, we cooperate in the economic sphere, and I hope we will cooperate more in the humanitarian sphere ... to provide help for those people - civilians - who are in a difficult situation today," Putin said.

He echoed comments by other Russian officials who have said Moscow will not allow itself to be drawn into the conflict.

(Reporting by Alexei Anishchuk; Writing by Steve Gutterman, Editing by Timothy Heritage)

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