Skip Navigation

Close and don't show again.

Your browser is out of date.

You may not get the full experience here on National Journal.

Please upgrade your browser to any of the following supported browsers:

Despite Ukraine Tensions, Russia Still Involved in Syria Despite Ukraine Tensions, Russia Still Involved in Syria

This ad will end in seconds
 
Close X

Not a member? Learn More »

Forget Your Password?

Don't have an account? Register »

Reveal Navigation
 

 

Defense

Despite Ukraine Tensions, Russia Still Involved in Syria

A top State Department official said he believes the European country is committed to removing Syria's chemical weapons.

Senators focused on the U.S.-Russian relationship in regard to Syria and the Ukraine.(ALEXEY DRUZHININ/AFP/Getty Images)

Despite increasing tensions over Russia's occupation of Crimea, a top State Department official said that the situation in Ukraine isn't impacting a push to destroy Syria's chemical-weapons arsenal.

"I believe Russia remains committed to the object here, which is the removal and destruction of all of Syria's chemical-weapons stockpile," Deputy Secretary of State William Burns said at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing Thursday about Syria and Ukraine.

Despite being seemingly unrelated, senators focused on a common thread the two scenarios have: Russia's involvement.

 

And Burns acknowledged that the United States has been "frustrated" about the Russian government's unwillingness to push harder on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime on areas including increasing access to humanitarian aid.

Despite multiple delays by the Syrian government to turn over chemical materials, Burns said he believes it is still possible to meet a midyear deadline to destroy the country's chemical-weapons program.

"That's an area where I believe Russia has a self-interest in trying to ensure that that happens, it's not a favor to the United States. It's something that Russia has committed to, and I hope we can accomplish that goal," Burns said.

The Senate hearing was originally scheduled to focus on Syria's civil war and whether it is increasing terrorist activity in the Middle East, but with increasing tensions between the West and Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Ukraine was added to the agenda.

"Ukraine is the 800-pound gorilla at the moment and we can't ignore it, nor we can ignore that Russia is a common element in both countries," Committee Chairman Robert Menendez said, adding that "Russia's support for Assad in Syria and the Russian invasion and occupation of parts of Ukraine make clear that Putin's game isn't 21st-century statesmanship."

The House voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to allow the Ukraine to receive $1 billion in loan guarantees from the State Department. The committee is expected to take up an aid bill next week.

Sen. Bob Corker, the committee's top Republican, criticized the Obama administration's handling of the Russian president, saying that the White House is "thinking that someone like Putin reacts to warmth and charm and reach-out, when what he really reacts to is weakness."

LIKE THIS STORY? Sign up for Early Bird

Sign up for our daily newsletter and stay on top of defense coverage.

Sign up form for Early Bird
Job Board
Search Jobs
Digital and Content Manager, E4C
American Society of Civil Engineers | New York, NY
PRODUCT REVIEW ENGINEER
American Society of Civil Engineers | CA
Neighborhood Traffic Safety Services Intern
American Society of Civil Engineers | Bellevue, WA
United Technologies Research Fellow
American Society of Civil Engineers | New York, NY
Process Engineering Co-op
American Society of Civil Engineers | Conshohocken, PA
Electrical Engineer Co-op
American Society of Civil Engineers | Findlay, OH
Application Engineer/Developer INTERN - Complex Fluids
American Society of Civil Engineers | Brisbane, CA
Application Engineer - Internships CAE/CFD Metro Detroit
American Society of Civil Engineers | Livonia, MI
Chief Geoscientist
American Society of Civil Engineers
Application Engineer - Internships CAE/CFD Metro Boston
American Society of Civil Engineers | Burlington, MA
Professional Development Program Engineer
American Society of Civil Engineers | Farmington Hills, MI
Civil Enginering Intern - Water/Wastewater/Site-Development
American Society of Civil Engineers | Sacramento, CA
Staff Accountant
American Society of Civil Engineers | Englewood, CO
Biomedical Service Internship Position
American Society of Civil Engineers | Flint, MI
 
Comments
comments powered by Disqus