MOSCOW, Dec. 24 (Xinhua) -- Russia did not supply Syria with offensive weapons, a high-ranking Russian military official said Monday.
"As for Syria, as far as we understand, there are no decisions to ban supply of defensive weapons to that country. Russia doesn't supply that country with the offensive weapons," Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov told reporters.
Meanwhile, the official denied media reports that Russia has sent "special task units" or air defense systems operators to Syria.
"I don't know what these reports are based on," he said.
As for the cruises of Russian naval ships, Antonov said they were performing missions in "various parts of the globe," but not carrying Russian officers to Syria.
In November, head of Russia's Presidential Administration Sergei Ivanov said Moscow was not delivering "destabilizing weapons" to Syria.
Also on Monday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said Russia was ready to evacuate its citizens from Syria if needed.
"It is common knowledge that there are contingency plans in case of emergency in different countries," he said.
BEIRUT, Dec. 24 (Xinhua) -- Russian Ambassador to Lebanon Alexander Zaspykin stressed Monday that talks about a change in his country's stance regarding the crisis in Syria are " unrealistic," the National News Agency reported.
"Talks about a change in Russia's stance regarding the Syrian crisis is unrealistic as Russia clearly supports the return of stability to Syria and is urging all the concerned parties to engage in a political dialogue and reject violence and terrorism fueled by foreign powers," the ambassador was quoted as saying when he received a delegation from the Syrian Social Nationalist Party. Full story
DAMASCUS, Dec. 24 (Xinhua) -- The UN-Arab League joint special envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, said here Monday that he discussed ways of ending the Syrian crisis with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, as well as his own vision of the solution, stopping short of giving details on his new plan.
"We have discussed the steps that could be undertaken in the future," Brahimi said after arriving at the Sheraton hotel in Syria's capital Damascus after meeting with Assad on Monday. Full story