Russia dashes US hopes for increased pressure on Syria

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And Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov for his part told the Interfax news agency that for Russia to increase pressure on Syria would be “hardly appropriate,” London's Telegraph reports.

“It would make sense to expect a continuation of the Russian Federation's consistent and well-argued line" on Syria during President Vladimir Putin's visits to Germany and France on Friday, Peskov said, according to the Telegraph.

The unwavering stance led U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice to warn Wednesday that widespread sectarian conflict across the region looms if U.N. special envoy Kofi Annan's peace plan fails and the U.N. Security Council can't stay united.

“In the absence of either of those two scenarios,” Rice said, “there seems to me to be only one other alternative — and that is indeed the worst case, which seems unfortunately at the present to be the most probable — and that is that the violence escalates, the conflict spreads and intensifies and reaches a higher degree of intensity and involves countries in the region, it takes on increasing sectarian forms, and we have a major crisis not only in Syria but in the region.”