MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia, which has been criticized for its sale of weapons to conflict-torn Syria, has no intention to justify its actions to the United States, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday.
Lavrov spoke after a Russian-operated ship carrying what a Cypriot official said was ammunition arrived in Syria last week from St. Petersburg after being held up in Cyprus. The United States said it had raised concerns about the ship with Russia.
“We don’t consider it necessary to explain ourselves or justify ourselves, because we are not violating any international agreements or any (U.N.) Security Council resolutions,” Lavrov told an annual news conference.
The U.S. envoy to the United Nations, Susan Rice, said on Tuesday that the United States had “very grave concern about arms flows into Syria from any source.”
She said it was unfortunate that there was no arms embargo against Syria, where the United Nations says more than 5,000 civilians have been killed in a 10-months crackdown on opposition to President Bashar al-Assad’s rule.
Russia, which along with China blocked a U.N. Security Council resolution in October that threatened an arms embargo on Syria, says an embargo would cut of supplies to the government while enabling armed opponents to receive weapons illegally.
Reporting By Alexei Anishchuk; Writing by Thomas Grove; Editing by Steve Gutterman