I've rounded up some excerpts that have been reported on prior to air time
There are also brief video clips available at CBS
CBS- Reuters & Russia beyond the headlines
|Image from Russia Beyond the Headlines|
Charlie Rose spent time with Putin while on assignment for "60 Minutes," and asked him about Russia's intentions in Syria.
Charlie Rose: So you would like to join the United States in the fight against ISIS? That's part of why you're there. Others think that while that may be part of your goal, you're trying to save the Assad administration because they've been losing ground and the war has not been going well for them. And you're there to rescue them.
Vladimir Putin (through translator): Well, you're right. And it's my deep belief that any actions to the contrary in order to destroy the legitimate government will create a situation which you can witness now in the other countries of the region or in other regions, for instance in Libya, where all the state institutions are disintegrated. We see a similar situation in Iraq.
And there is no other solution to the Syrian crisis than strengthening the effective government structures and rendering them help in fighting terrorism. But at the same time, urging them to engage in positive dialogue with the rational opposition and conduct reform.
Rose: As you know, some of the coalition partners want to see President Assad go first before they will support.
Putin: I'd like to recommend to them the following: They should send this message to the Syrian people. It's only the Syrian people who are entitled to decide who should govern their country and how.
Putin "There is only one regular legitimate army there. It is the army of Syrian President Al-Assad. And it is confronted by what some of our international partners interpret as the opposition. In fact, in real life al-Assad's army is fighting against terrorist organizations,"
Putin said to the U.S. journalist: "You know better than me about the hearings that have just taken place in the U.S. Senate, if I am not mistaken, where the military, representatives of the Pentagon reported to Senators on what was done by the United States to train the fighting part of opposition forces."
"The objective was to train 5,000-6,000 fighters first and then 12,000. As a result it turned out that only 60 were trained and only four or five people are waging an armed struggle while all the rest simply defected to ISIS with American armaments"
Putin "In my opinion, provision of military support to illegal structures runs counter to the principles of modern international law and the United Nations Charter," he said
President Vladimir Putin has said that Russian presence in Syria is based on fundamental principles of present-day international law and is exercised at the request of the Syrian government.
Putin "We proceed from the UN Charter, i.e. fundamental principles of present-day international law according to which some one or other type of assistance, including military assistance, can and should be rendered solely to the lawful governments of countries with their consent or at their request or under a resolution of the UN Security Council,"
"In this case we have a request of the Syrian government for rendering them military-technical assistance which we are doing in the framework of absolutely legal international contracts," the Russian president added. Asked about the purpose of Russian presence in Syria Putin said: "Today it amounts to arms deliveries to the Syrian government, personnel training and rendering humanitarian assistance to the Syrian people."
Russia's sudden military build-up this month (Sudden build up? Puhleez! Russia's presence in Syria has been known for decades) in support of Assad and a refugee crisis that has spilled over from the region into Europe have lent new urgency to attempts to resolve the Syria conflict.
Putin said "We have been providing assistance to legitimate government entities only," he said. "As of today it has taken the form of weapons supplies to the Syrian government, personnel training and humanitarian aid to the Syrian people."
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