Russian Ambassador worries use of force in Syria could “ruin” US relations
September 6th, 2013
05:43 PM ET

Russian Ambassador worries use of force in Syria could “ruin” US relations

The Russian ambassador to the United States said any use of American military force against war-wracked Syria could carry serious consequences and hoped such an outcome would not ruin already tense relations.

While things are difficult between Washington and Moscow, Sergey Kislyak said in Washington that ties have not plunged to Cold War depths – yet.

“They’re not in good shape,” Kislyak said at an appearance in Washington for the Center for the National Interest.

Kislyak said the two have “honest disagreements,” and said he has heard “notes of dismay” that the relationship is heading back to decades when Russia and the United States were the bitterest of Cold War adversaries.

“Certainly it’s serious issue as to where our relations are,” he said, noting that the Obama administration’s proposal for using force against Syria, a Russian ally, is a problem.

“Currently, we see that the United States has decided to decide everything on their own and we are invited to accept the judgments of the United States based on a statement by the U.S. government assessing the situation,” Kislyak said.

“We are watching very closely what our American colleagues are going to do. Because the consequences of any improper step, with the use of force especially, can be very high,” he added.

Kislyak said he hopes Russian-American relations won’t be “ruined, but we certainly will watch very closely how things are going to develop.”

Russian officials in Washington unsuccessfully sought a meeting with congressional leaders to lobby them against calls to punish Syria for alleged chemical weapons use.

Lawmakers are considering Obama’s call to authorize a limited military strike to punish the regime of Bashar al-Assad, whose forces have been battling rebels in a civil war for more than two years.
President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, held what each described Friday as a "constructive" talk about Syria.

Obama described the brief exchange on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Russia as "candid, constructive" - but acknowledged that Putin was unlikely to support his call for military action against Syria.

Putin gave reporters a similar account, adding, "He doesn't agree with me, I don't agree with him, but we listened to each other."

soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. sallyedelstein

    Is the cold war being taken out of the deep freeze?
    Having caught a cold war chill I never could quite shake, the current frosty relations between Obama and Putin send a shiver down my spine, as childhood memories of the cold war are quickly defrosted. The deepening mistrust and accusations of lying between the US and Russia feels like deja vu all over again. I recall my suburban towns mid-century July 4th parade that was co-sponsored by those Cold War Crusaders of truth from "The Crusade For Freedom" the privately funded donation drive that raised "truth dollars" to support Radio Free Europe. A visual look at truth and the cold war http://wp.me/p2qifI-1Et

    September 9, 2013 at 4:33 pm | Reply
  2. Alex279

    Ooops, new ambassador. Where is Vitaliy Churkin?

    September 7, 2013 at 6:15 pm | Reply
  3. Skorpio

    Russians know pretty well the Islamic modus operandi because they've experienced it for many centuries. Russia can not blame Al-Assad entirely for the atrocities committed in Syria because ALL Islamic parties involved (rebels, terrorists, Arab Spring, radicals, Islamists, government officials, insurgents, Muslim monarchs and clerics) are basically the same kind of manure but with different texture and odor.

    September 7, 2013 at 2:18 pm | Reply
    • Alex279

      Russians also know that the best way to deal with foreign-grown radical Islam in their country is to have good domestic version of Islam.

      September 7, 2013 at 11:57 pm | Reply
  4. You know

    You know, it's kind of funny how all these- "powers" sit on there backside, threatening America with warnings about using force in Syria. I for one, think we should take it slow in Syria, as terrible as it is, it is an internal civil war and we don't want to make things worse. Having said that, it would be comforting to see Russia China Iran, and the US come together on something so, fundamental to preserving world peace in stability- aside from an geo-political motive. I world like to see these, bums step to the plate and help the US do what everyone in the world knows what must be done, and that is to stop the use of WMDs in this way it sets a dangerous precedent. But, that wont happen anytime soon, our UN partners (joke), haven't gotten over there jealousy of US leadership and need to resist it, at the price of international instability. That's the underlying reason we are in the situation we are in.

    September 7, 2013 at 9:05 am | Reply
  5. M.A.P.

    NEWSFLASH Mr Embassador – the relationship IS ruined thanks to your WONDERFUL leader, Vladimir Putin. Putin has gone out of his way and made the extra effort to destroy the progress the US and Russia were making. His fake re-election to the post of President was WHEN the relationship was downgraded. Putin is sc-um and when he is gone (if he ever lets that happen) then the US can once again begin a reasonable conversation with Russia. Under his leadership there is no point in trying, he has made his anti-western stance as cleAR AS DAY.

    September 7, 2013 at 8:23 am | Reply
  6. Caveat

    Oh how I laugh, while I don't agree with Obama, it is funny that Russia still thinks after the Snowden ordeal, they still have good diplomatic ties with the U.S.

    September 7, 2013 at 1:58 am | Reply
  7. googlepravda

    http://english.pravda.ru/ read up thoroughly to see exactly who our Russian "Friends" are. Read how Russians, are training, have been training since the beginning of the cold war- they're people to hate us Americans with they're propaganda. This goes on today by the same government of the mass murderer – Stalin, the putin dictator government and they're propaganda arm- the pravda.

    Be Skeptical of Russia's "friendship" – something stinks.

    God Bless America

    September 7, 2013 at 1:19 am | Reply
  8. Burt Ward

    The deal is that Russia sold Syria their military hardware. When the US wiped out all the Russian hardware in Iraq, it infuriated them to no end. The air defense system was supposed to be as solid as the one around Moscow. It was even more robust than the bistatic radar system that protects Moscow and many key Russian logistical cities. To know that the US went in to Iraq and defeated the same system so fast made them incredibly upset that has not ended. So now Russia is shipping the newest dual bistatic command and control system they have. This time it must hold against a US attack of any kind. It is designed to repel even the best HARM missiles the US has on its missile frigates. Russia is also not wanting people to find any of the evidence they sold Syria the Sarin gas used there. But Syria has no such capability to make it nor the guided missile technology to deliver it. All that came from Russia. So, this is once again a complete proxy war against Russia just like it was with Iraq and Afghanistan.

    September 7, 2013 at 1:11 am | Reply
    • Dan

      The Soviet Union collapsed. Why do we give them equal footing? I agree they are bitter about how easily their systems were defeated. Read Viper Pilot. It's technology and people. We have the best pilots

      September 7, 2013 at 11:14 am | Reply
    • Alex279

      Keep in mind that before the Gulf War in 1991 Iraq was seasoned by sanctions for 10 years during and after the Iran-Iraq war of 1980-1988. Soviet Union did not sell any weapons to Iraq starting with 1980, and, basically all the way to 2011. Very limited weapon sales (helicopter parts, etc) were resumed toward the end of 2010 for the new Iraqi army under US supervision.

      So the bottom line is: back in 1991 Iraq was able to shoot down about 15 coalition planes using Soviet supplied air defenses left from 197x era. Not bad at all.

      September 7, 2013 at 11:50 pm | Reply
  9. StanCalif

    Unfortunately, our "do nothing Congress" has no clue what they are really doing to our country!
    i admire Obama for forcing our Congress to make a decision! Obama is not the "cowboy" GWB was, which is exactly why he won a Nobel Peace Prize! Cowboys shoot first then wonder what went wrong! Are YOU ready to repeat??? I hope not! Write to your representatives in Congress, they really don't have a clue! Of course, any letters from Israel take priority!! Big campaign $$$ AT STAKE!

    September 7, 2013 at 12:22 am | Reply
  10. john smith

    America is the root of all terror. America has invaded sixty countries since world war 2.
    In 1953 America overthrow Iran's democratic government Mohammad Mosaddegh and installed a brutal dictator Shah. America helped Shah of Iran to establish secret police and killed thousands of Iranian people.
    During Iran-Iraq war evil America supported Suddam Hossain and killed millions of Iranian people. In 1989, America, is the only country ever, shot down Iran's civilian air plane, killing 290 people.
    In 2003,America invaded Iraq and killed 1,000,000+ innocent Iraqi people and 4,000,000+ Iraqi people were displaced.
    Now America is a failed state with huge debt. Its debt will be 22 trillion by 2015.

    September 6, 2013 at 8:57 pm | Reply
  11. Matt

    The point being that Putin rolled out the Kremlin two step earlier in the week the schizophrenic one step forward two steps back policy. This time the US did not bother to play. The G20 break up for or against is not a surprise, economic values and social, moral values do not interlock. The Russians and their block do not support western christian values. The reset did not work becuase the US is not the problem, 2008 was over Iran Russia was expected to invade all of Georgia and the US would have attacked, now Russia's key ally is being destroyed and likely face military action. This is all a result of Russian foreign policy. Anytime our ships are close there is a risk of war as was the case in the Black Sea in 2008. I mean the Russians sink their own ships during exercises by accident. The premise of 2008 if they want war, but Vlad said to 43 he did not want war and neither did 43. However that is were all this is going we probably have to box on a bit to make our positions clear to the other, then the line on the geopolitical can be established and diplomacy can solve issues. So I understand what was in play in 2008, I disagreed at that point over that issue but I understand and supported the premise of the theory.

    September 6, 2013 at 7:50 pm | Reply
  12. Phelix Unger

    Russia has already made their decision and that is to support a mass murderer who has no real legitimacy. As for America getting involved, well for myself as a northern neighbour I support this governments decision what ever it might be, as for GW, I had no use for the man, yet Americans put him in office twice. If Assad were to be eliminated in the bombing it would probably just create another Iraq, Libya, or even Egypt. I hold out the most hope for Egypt though. As for threats from Iran, if Syria is bombed from way up high in the sky, then Iran should just watch the show and thank what ever celestial being they wish to, that its Syria and not them.

    September 6, 2013 at 7:30 pm | Reply
  13. Peace

    Is Obama/Senate/Congress going to carry out this mission with the premise of our national security being jeopardized?

    For God's sake people, when you tick the Russians off, you just increased our national security jeopardy ten fold or more.

    Potential WWIII to look good for a country that we have no interest in? WAKE UP !!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 6, 2013 at 6:28 pm | Reply
  14. George patton

    Russian Ambassador should worry use of force in Syria could “ruin” his comfortable living, glamorous parties in America

    September 6, 2013 at 6:20 pm | Reply
    • George patton

      The Russian Ambassador is quite right, Phunnie boy. No one with any sense of decency would go along with this butcher Barack Obama and his planned dastardly attack on Syria where some 15 to 20,000 people stand to be slaughtered. Besides Phunnie boy, how would you feel if your family was in Syria in the line of fire for B-2 and B-52 bombers? I bet you wouldn't feel so good about Obama then, would you?

      September 6, 2013 at 10:08 pm | Reply
      • Alex279

        Why you are replying to yourself.

        September 7, 2013 at 6:13 pm |
  15. Ted

    Putin defines his status in Russia in his opposition to US. That's what all dictators do "Stand up to US" because it serves their credibility at home.

    September 6, 2013 at 6:04 pm | Reply
    • George patton

      I think there is some truth in what you say; Pakistani dictator Musharraf cooperated with US on WOT, and he is facing electric chair by his own people. If detector don't die by the US missiles strikes, they do die in electric chairs. Not a good idea to be a dictator in muslim country.

      September 6, 2013 at 6:23 pm | Reply
    • George patton

      Tell me Ted, are these so-called "evil" dictators really any more evil than our own legislators in Washington D.C.? I think not! Those who back Barack Obama on these obscene wars are living off the fat of the land here and don't stand to lose any friends of family in the upcoming dastardly attack on Syria!!!

      September 6, 2013 at 10:16 pm | Reply
    • Alex279

      The only problem with this theory is that Putin already suffers from excess domestic credibility. It is too much already, he does not need it any more, and besides he is not in election campaign and nowhere close to it as his next re-election will be long after Obama retires.

      September 7, 2013 at 6:12 pm | Reply

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