As President Obama prepares to hold his first bilateral meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G-20 summit today, the Senate is pushing forward a resolution to condemn Russia for its arms shipments to Bashar Assad’s regime.
Sens. John Cornyn (R-Texas), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Jim Risch (R-Idaho) and Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) last week introduced the resolution to formally condemn the Kremlin and calling for an immediate halt to all weapons sales to the Syrian government.
Russia has rebuffed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s assertion that it has been supplying armed helicopters to Syria, stating that the “anti-air defense systems” it supplies are legitimate and would continue.
“For years Russia has been arming Assad, and the United States can no longer turn a blind eye as they prop up his despicable regime and enable its murderous reign over the Syrian people,” said Cornyn, who has been criticizing the Pentagon for continuing a no-bid contract with Russia’s state-owned arms dealer even as Rosoboronexport continues to supply Assad with weapons.
“It is time for us to step back and say to the Russians: If you are going to subsidize the killing of innocent people, you will face global condemnation,” said Durbin. “This resolution calls on the Russian Government to stop the sale of weapons to Syria, end its support for Assad’s brutal regime and join the rest of the world in finding an end to the violence in Syria.”
The resolution is likely to face pushback from the White House, which has been keen on not highlighting its failed “reset” in regard to Russian relations.