Syria’s ceasefire agreement has been touted as fragile as several reports claim that Russia already violated the deal, using the region as testing grounds instead. Moreover, Russia’s request prevented the U.N. Security Council to vote on a resolution regarding sanctions on North Korea for its nuclear and satellite launches.
Russia has been under fire for the series of attacks it launched in Syria. Some claim that the country is only using the region as testing grounds for its weapons. For instance, President Vladimir Putin is supposedly investing in burgeoning air base in northwestern Syria. The establishment is believed to be permanent as stated in a pro-government journal in Moscow, as reported by the Washington Times. In fact, the report claimed that the air strikes in Syria offered Russian pilots the necessary training hours. Syria is not just a way for Russia to demonstrate its military prowess but also a way for Putin to supposedly test out military modernization programs. “The Russian-Syrian coalition has no need to hurry,” Washington Times quoted an article from Expert Magazine.
“The air campaign is not expensive for Moscow, and it allows Russia to train pilots and to test the battle performance of different types of weapons. These benefits are in addition to the political gains and to the main goal, which is to eliminate Russian-speaking fighters in theaters far away from Russia’s borders,” the report added.
On the other side of things, Russia negotiated changes on the U.S.-Chinese draft on North Korean sanctions which delayed the U.N. Security Council vote. According to the council, the first was initially scheduled for Tuesday afternoon but it was later changed to 10 a.m. (1500 GMT) on Wednesday. According to the US mission to the United Stations, the council decided to reschedule the vote after “Russia invoked a procedural 24-hour review of the resolution.”
Reuters reported Russian U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin telling the press that “it’s a resolution which is necessary, which the Security Council needs to adopt because of the certain challenges coming from DPRK (North Korea).” “We did have a few issues to take care of and we discussed them with the U.S. delegation and I think they accommodated some of our concerns,” added the official.