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Russia discussing with US proposals on Syria truce, humanitarian issues - envoy to UN

February 11, 2016, 0:32 updated at: February 11, 2016, 1:15 UTC+3

Vitaly Churkin confirmed that Russia will present ideas relating to truce at a meeting of the International Syria Support Group in Munich on February 11

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© Kena Betancur/Getty Images

UNITED NATIONS, February 11. /TASS/. Russia is discussing with the United States ideas to achieve a ceasefire regime in Syria, as well as humanitarian issues, Russia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin said Wednesday.

Churkin confirmed that Russia will present ideas relating to truce at a meeting of the International Syria Support Group in Munich on February 11.

However, he did not disclose Moscow’s proposals but said these issues are already discussed with Washington on a bilateral basis.

"We are holding discussions with the United States, including on the possibility to cease fire and on humanitarian issues," the diplomat said.

He said Russia is holding dialogue with humanitarian organizations, including the World Food Program.

Churkin also told journalists after the closed meeting of the UN Security Council, convened by Spain and New Zealand to discuss the situation in Aleppo, where the Syrian army, supported by Russia, conducts an operation against militants, that Russia will not find excuses for its activities in Syria because it is acting openly in full compliance with international law.

"We are not going to find excuses for our actions. We are acting very openly. Our Defense Ministry holds daily briefings, we are present in Syria on legal grounds - at an invitation of the Syrian government," the diplomat said.

He said the Syrian opposition needs to expand its delegation and make it more representative before the talks with the Damascus government resume on February 25.

He called for involving the internal Syrian opposition, which had held several rounds of consultations in Moscow and Cairo last year, as well as Syrian Kurds in the peace negotiations. Without them, discussing the Syrian settlement is senseless, Churkin said.

According to UN statistics, fighting between Syrian government troops and militants has killed over 220,000 people and displaced millions since its start in 2011. Gangs of militants making part of various armed formations, the most active of them being the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist organizations, fight government troops.

Russia’s Aerospace Forces started delivering pinpoint strikes in Syria at facilities of the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist organizations, which are banned in Russia, on September 30, 2015, on a request from Syrian President Bashar Assad.

The air group initially comprised over 50 aircraft and helicopters, including Sukhoi Su-24M, Su-25SM and state-of-the-art Su-34 aircraft. They were deployed to the Khmeimim airbase in the province of Latakia.

On October 7, 2015, four missile ships of the Russian Navy’s Caspian Flotilla fired 26 Kalibr cruise missiles (NATO codename Sizzler) at militants’ facilities in Syria. On October 8, the Syrian army passed to a large-scale offensive.

In mid-November 2015, Russia increased the number of aircraft taking part in the operation in Syria to 69 and involved strategic bombers in strikes at militants.

Targets of the Russian aircraft include terrorists’ gasoline tankers and oil refineries.

Russia’s aircraft have made thousands of sorties since the start of the operation in Syria.

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