Russian president Vladmir Putin said he would consider a military strike against the Assad regime in Syria, but only if it was sanctioned by the United Nations Security Council.

“I do not exclude this,” Putin said in an interview with the Associated Press.

“But I would like to draw your attention to one absolutely key aspect. In line with international law, only the U.N. Security Council could sanction the use of force against a sovereign state. Any other pretext or method which might be used to justify the use of force against an independent sovereign state is inadmissible and can only be interpreted as an aggression.”

Russia is a strong ally of Syria and has close military ties to the country. There’s a Russian naval base in Syria and Moscow sells arms to the regime of President Bashar Assad.

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