MOSCOW (AP) — Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says his country is not considering offering asylum to Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Kommersant, the respected Russian daily newspaper, quoted diplomatic sources on Wednesday as saying that Western nations are pushing Moscow to provide asylum to Assad.
Lavrov said on Thursday that Russia has no such plans, and he insisted that invitations like that would not make sense because “Syrians themselves need to find common ground.”
Syrian activists say that about 14,000 people have been killed in an uprising in Syria since March 2011. Some have described Assad’s exit as a possible solution that could help end the uprising.
Russia previously protected Syria from United Nations Security Council condemnation, though the Kremlin has tried to distance itself from Damascus as Syrian bloodshed continues.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has rejected calls for armed intervention, saying the sides need to find a diplomatic solution to the nearly 18-month uprising.