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Russia operation in Syria ‘impeccable’ under international law — senior MP

November 20, 2015, 14:38 UTC+3 MOSCOW

After the terrorist attack downed a Russian passenger airliner in Sinai Russian activity in Syria "has double legitimacy," Konstantin Kosachev says

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© Valery Sharifulin/TASS

MOSCOW, November 20. /TASS/. Russia’s action in Syria is faultless, proceeding in full compliance with international law and backed by a UN Security Council resolution, a senior Russian parliamentarian said on Friday.

"Russia’s action is impeccable from the point of view of international law as compared to activities of the US-led coalition and its allies," chairman of the Federation Council upper house International Affairs Committee Konstantin Kosachev told a session of both houses of parliament on action against terrorism.

He said "numerical strength of the participants has no role" for gaining legitimacy, adding: "International law has no such principle as ‘We outnumber you, which means we are right'".

Russian activity in Syria after the terrorist attack downed a Russian passenger airliner in Sinai "has double legitimacy", he said. After the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States, the UN Security Council passed a resolution giving the right to an individual or collective military response in line with Article 51 of the UN Charter, which also referred to anti-terrorism activity.

Kosachev said the setting up of a global coalition against terrorism initiated by the Russian president was stalled, and Russia was not to blame.

"The key issue is readiness and a bid to cooperate with Russia, with our partners, without any preconditions from the states that are nowadays part of another illegitimate coalition led by the US," he said, noting that any coalition should have full international legitimacy.

"This means it must act under the UN aegis in accordance with its mandate, strictly comply with rules of international law, including respect for the sovereignty of states concerned," he added.

No secondary aims should be pursued in such activity, "like replacement of undesirable regimes in the region and other insurgency on the territory of a sovereign state".

No reason yet for Syria ground operations

The official also noted there's no reason at present for Russia's ground operations in Syria.

"I personally would consider a ground operation itself and even the possibility of discussing it inappropriate in the present situation," Kosachev told TASS.

"In principle, this is a discussion for specialists, not politicians. But I repeat once again that I have felt no signals from specialists that Russia’s position that we know of - reliance only on activity by Russian aerospace troops - would see any changes," the Federation Council lawmaker said.

Russia’s Aerospace Forces started delivering pinpoint strikes in Syria at facilities of the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist organisations - banned in Russia - on September 30, requested by Syrian President Bashar Assad.

The air group comprises more than 50 aircraft and helicopters, including Sukhoi Su-24M, Su-25SM and state-of-the-art Su-34 aircraft.

Russian President Vladimir Putin gave instructions to intensify strikes delivered by Russian aircraft in Syria after Federal Security Service chief Alexander Bortnikov reported that the crash of Russia’s A321 airliner above the Sinai Peninsula on October 31 was caused by a terrorist act.

Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu reported to President Vladimir Putin on November 17 that Russia had involved strategic and long-range aircraft in strikes against Islamic State. Russian authorities have said on many occasions that Russia’s military forces would not take part in any ground operations in Syria.

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