Tougher EU sanctions on Syria were met with a Russian rebuke on Saturday. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said banning Syrian oil exports would “lead to nothing good”, and repeated Moscow’s opposition to unilateral measures.
Syria was top of the agenda at an informal meeting of the EU foreign ministers in Poland, where additional sanctions were approved against a number of Syrian banks, businesses and individuals.
Russia and China have been fighting a rearguard diplomatic action against the international community and the United Nations, both of which are pressing for a more hardline approach against Bashar al-Assad.
The Syrian leader is continuing to face widespread daily protests after more than five months of unrest, and his army continues to put down all protests with loss of life; 16 more people were killed yesterday, baptised by the opposition as a Friday of “death not humiliation”.