Over the last year, Russia has changed their approach in terms of dealing with Syria. At first Russia supported the theory that the ongoing military conflict is a “internal matter” and that the international community should have an hands off approach. Using the vested veto power, Russia along with China stonewalled three UN Security Council resolutions this past summer that would implement sanctions on Syria. Since then, the Federation has been indirectly supplying weapons into the country providing the with small arms, helicopters, and other military necessities. This proliferation of munitions has been a factor in why the Assad regime has been relieant and effective against rebel forces. Russia has insisted that it is within its rights to keep arming the regime as there are no UN resolutions prohibiting this. Anatoly Isaikin, the director of Rosoboronexport, said: “In the absence of [UN] sanctions, we are continuing to fulfill our contract obligations. We are mostly shipping air-defense systems and repair equipment intended for various branches of the military.” The one thing holding back a no fly-zone strategy is the effective use of Syria’s Air defenses, which was helped overhauled by Russia. (The Independent).
What it is hard to comprehend is why they are donating over 26 tons of food, house hold items, and other basic essentials to Syrian refugees? The first of several shipments have landed in Beirut today and will continue to be flown in this month. Al Arabiya reports, Around 400,000 Syrian refugees have fled to Lebanon since the uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad began in March 2011. Lebanon says it is struggling to provide shelter and basic needs for them and has asked the international community for help. One can only assume that President Putin and political assets in Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry is feeling the pressure from the international community about the continued diplomatic support of Assad’s regime.
It is a bit contradicting that Russia is funding aide to a military conflict that is surviving due to the indirect proliferation of it’s military hardware. Of course in the public eye, the Federation would like to see an end to the conflict. Russian Ambassador to Lebanon Alexander Zasypkin stated today, “I would like to mention that among the aid there is food aid and household items and electric items and generators and necessary items, also on this occasion I would like to say again to confirm the position of Russia which is in favor of a political settlement for the Syrian conflict by ending the violence and holding dialogue between the authorities and the opposition (Al Arabiya).”
I am not to convinced that Russia is so committed to the end of violence in Syria as the rest of the international community, especially the United Nations. Without the full support and the withdrawal of arming Assad and his military posse, the end of violent conflict will just drag on. It is my assumption that the aide to Lebanon is just for public relations, and is deflecting from the fact that the Russian government has had a hand in the 70,000 deaths in Syria. Like I said a bit contradicting.