Russia has continued its close military co-operation with the regime in spite of the atrocities that it has committed, including the use of chemical weapons. It has chosen to shield the regime’s use of chemical weapons from international scrutiny. Its repeated blocking of the mandate of the UN-OPCW joint investigative mechanism sent a dangerous signal to the Syrian regime that it could continue to use chemical weapons with impunity.
Russia must change tack. It must end its destructive support for the regime’s military campaign and instead support de-escalation and a political settlement. Of course, when information is available about those who may have taken part in war crimes, the accountability mechanisms that I have mentioned should, and must, come into play.