Russia is halting its arms shipments to Syria until the conflict calms down, Russian officials said on Monday, according to the Associated Press.
Russia has remained one of the few remaining allies to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his embattled regime. The U.S. has lambasted Russia for providing high-powered armaments to Assad, including attack helicopters, which they said have been used to kill civilians.
Vyacheslav Dzirkaln, deputy chief of the Russian military and technical cooperation agency, said in London that Russia would not sign any new weapons deals until further notice.
Russia’s refusal to back Assad’s ouster has put it at odds with the West, as officials have continually blocked United Nations action.
On Monday, Russia hosted a meeting between regime and opposition leaders in Moscow, AFP reports. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the country is taking a leading role in trying to halt the conflict and pushing a peace plan proffered by UN Envoy Kofi Annan.
“Russia is one of few, if not the only country which is working actively with the Syrian government and different opposition forces for the implementation of the Kofi Annan plan,” Lavrov said, according to the AFP.
Syrian activists say more than 17,000 people have been killed since the uprising started more than a year ago.
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