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September 12th, 2013
04:29 PM ET

McCain: Russia disarming Syria of chemical weapons while supplying conventional ones is offensive

Russia's involvement as a major player in a diplomatic solution to Syria is offensive, says Senator John McCain.

The Republican senator, who has called repeatedly for arming the rebels and more U.S. involvement in the conflict in Syria, said Russia continues to supply Syrian President Bashar al-Asad with conventional weapons of war that have already killed at least 100,000.

McCain said he is "offended that here we are negotiating to remove chemical weapons at the same time. plane loads of arms are flying into Damascus that are used to kill Syrians."

The C.I.A. is arming Syrian rebels, but McCain said there is no comparison between U.S. involvement and Russia's.

"That's like saying the people who fought against Hitler are morally equivalent, they're not. Bashar Assad has butchered over 100,000 of his citizens in the most barbaric fashion. And the, Russians while talking about removing the chemical weapons, are flying in vast supplies."

McCain reacted to Russian President Vladimir Putin's op-ed in The New York Times with a dig at Russia's political newspaper.

"I would love to have a commentary in "Pravda,"" McCain said with a laugh.

"We have to remember who Putin is. He's a KGB colonel apparatchik, who has never abandoned the Russian ambitions for an empire, and influence in the world," said McCain.

Secretary of State John Kerry is in Geneva discussing the Russian proposal with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov, but McCain is "very skeptical" the high stakes talks will succeed.

"What has Putin or Lavrov ever done that would make us entrust them with a mission of removing chemical weapons from Syria?" said McCain.

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