Russia will struggle to prevent the United Nations from introducing sanctions against Syria, a spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry said Wednesday, according to Russian news reports.
"Russia opposes sanctions against Syria," Mikhail Kamynin said while accompanying Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on a trip to Israel, according to Russian news agencies. "Russia will be doing everything necessary to prevent attempts to impose sanctions against Syria."
The statement is the clearest signal yet that Moscow, a permanent U.N. Security Council member with veto power, will try to block introduction of sanctions against Syria over the February assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
U.N. investigator Detlev Mehlis's report has established a clear link between Syrian officials and their Lebanese allies in Hariri's killing. The government of Syrian President Bashar Assad has denied involvement.
The United States, France and Britain pushed for the adoption of a tough resolution against Syria which would threaten sanctions if Damascus fails to cooperate fully with the U.N. probe into Hariri's slaying, reports the AP.