July 17 - Russian President Vladimir Putin meets U.N. envoy Kofi Annan and says Russia will support his efforts in Syria. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
Russian President Vladimir Putin welcomes U.N. envoy Kofi Annan to the Kremlin Tuesday. While Moscow has so far blocked attempts by Western powers at the U.N. to impose sanctions against Syria, Putin offered support in stopping what is now being called by many a civil war. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) RUSSIAN PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN, SAYING: "From the very beginning, and you know that, from your very first steps as the U.N. and as Arab League envoy we have been supporting, and we are supporting your efforts, aimed at restoring peace in Syria. We all know you as an honest and professional man, a man who enjoys a very high popularity. I want to ensure you that we will do anything that may depend on us to support your efforts," While amateur video which could not be independently verified by Reuters shows ongoing violence in Syria, Moscow has signaled it will continue to block any move on sanctions-- calling them counter-productive. The Syrian opposition told Russia bluntly at talks last week that its protection of President Bashar al-Assad is prolonging the bloodshed. Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters.