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Russia insists it stands by Syria's Assad, despite earlier comments (+video)

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(Read caption) Having been an ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Russia is now watching the leader lose ground to the rebels. PBS NewsHour's Judy Woodruff talks to Vitaly Churkin, Russia's ambassador to the United Nations, who says that while Russia is not supporting Assad, it remains strong in its rejection of outside military intervention in Syria.
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Russia today denied that it had changed its policy towards the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a day after a high-ranking Russian official admitted publicly for the first time that the Syrian government may fall.

A spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry said today that Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, in comments widely published yesterday that acknowledged the possible victory of Syria's rebels, was only reiterating Russia's official position of supporting a political end to the conflict, reports RIA Novosti.

...[O]n Friday Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich was dismissive [of reports that Russia was backing away from Assad]. “I saw the US State Department spokeswoman citing [Bodganov] and praising how Moscow has finally woken up and is changing its position,” he said.

“But we never slept. And we never changed our position, and will not do so in the future,” Lukashevich said at a press briefing in Moscow.

RIA Novosti writes that the ministry said Mr. Bogdanov "has not made any specific statements for the press on Syria in recent days," suggesting that his statements were not intended to reflect Russian policy.


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