Russia's UN ambassador says an immediate cease-fire in Syria "would have been utopian" and that Moscow prefers a preliminary agreement ahead of sustained de-escalation in all areas, not just the suburbs of Damascus.
Vassily Nebenzia told the UN Security Council on Monday that "this is the only realistic way forward," and that it was part of a cease-fire adopted by the council last month. He said Russia is trying to implement that cease-fire, which has done little to stop the heavy fighting in eastern Ghouta, outside the capital.
He defended Syrian and Russian military operations there, saying "the suburbs of Damascus cannot remain a hotbed of terrorism." He accused militants, including those linked to al-Qaida, of undermining the cease-fire.