Moscow is yet to say if it will veto a United Nations Security Council resolution condemning Syria, but it has spoken of its opposition to it.
A vote on a text put forward by Britain, France, Germany and Portugal is due later today in New York.
Some diplomats are hoping that Russia might be convinced to abstain, but the language in Moscow is plain.
Alexander Lukashevich, a Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman, said: “The situation in (Syria) does not represent a threat to international peace and security. The result of this debate on the anti-Syria project could result in a further escalation of internal tension, which could have a negative effect on the situation in the region as a whole.”
Meanwhile, the UN nuclear watchdog has reported Syria to the Security Council for what is reported to be covert atomic work.
Russia and China voted against the move at the International Atomic Energy Agency, highlighting division between the big powers.
There are claims that Syria has been stonewalling an investigation by the agency into a military complex bombed by Israel in 2007. Damascus denies it was a nuclear facility.