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Putin: War Crimes Accusations In Syria 'Political Rhetoric'

Russian President Vladimir Putin dismissed accusations that Russia committed "war crimes" in Syria as "political rhetoric."

Russian President Vladimir Putin has described as "political rhetoric" accusations that war crimes had been committed in the Syrian city of Aleppo, where Russian warplanes are backing Syrian government forces trying to wrestle back control of the city from opposition rebels.

Speaking in an interview aired on October 12, Putin said the allegations do "not take into account the realities in Syria."

Putin told France's TF1 television that he was "deeply convinced that it is our Western partners, first and foremost, of course, the United States, who are responsible for the situation."

The Russian leader also said Moscow was fighting "terrorists" in Syria who were using civilians as human shields in rebel-held eastern Aleppo.

Putin also accused France of forcing Moscow into vetoing a United Nations resolution on Syria and suggested Paris was doing Washington's bidding.

Russia last week vetoed a French-backed resolution condemning the violence in Aleppo, saying the document failed to take into account Russian proposals.

Western governments said the veto showed Moscow had no interest in halting the violence.

Putin earlier this week canceled a trip to Paris after French President Francois Hollande criticized Russia's actions in Syria.

Based on reporting by AFP and AP