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Duma Speaker Denies Possibility of U.S.-Russia Clash in Syria

Vyacheslav Volodin Denis Abramov / Vedomosti

The newly appointed head of Russia’s State Duma has denied the possibility of a direct clash between the United States and Russia in Syria, the Interfax news agency reported.

Answering journalists’ questions today, Vyacheslav Volodin stressed that despite the soaring rhetoric of some politicians, Russia is a “peace-loving country” that will “do everything to support peace.”

Instead of accusing each other of aggressive actions and obstructing military operations in Syria, leaders should unite and think about the best interests of the citizens, he said.

“The struggle against terrorism, the struggle against evil is an issue that worries every citizen of Russia and the citizens of other countries,” Volodin said, “because we are talking about preventing terrorist attacks in all countries of the world. For this reason, we need to unite and coordinate our efforts.”

Volodin’s remarks came amid a rapid breakdown of US-Russian dialogue on the Syrian Civil War.

On Oct. 3, the US announced it was suspending bilateral talks with Russia, claiming that Russia had not fulfilled its ceasefire commitments. Shortly thereafter, Russia deployed an S-300 anti-aircraft missile system to its naval base at Tartus, Syria. As reports circulated that the Obama administration was considering airstrikes against the Syrian Army, the Russian Defense Ministry threatened to shoot down “unidentified flying objects” in an official statement.

In response, a Pentagon spokesperson questioned the purpose of the S-300, given that the extremist groups Russia claims to be fighting have no air force.

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