Russia will not participate in the EU sanctions against Syria and will not allow the inspection of ships sailing under its flag, Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said on Saturday.
“We have no intention to take part in any measures in pursuit of the EU decisions aimed against Syria,” he said, adding that “we will not agree to the inspection of ships sailing under the Russian flag or the use of any other restriction measures against them.”
Russia totally “rejects unilateral sanctions against Syria,” he said.
The European Union approved a new set of sanctions against Syria on Monday, including a tougher arms embargo, in response to the escalating violence in the country.
Foreign ministers of the 27 EU member states agreed to authorize searches of airplanes and ships in EU territorial waters and airspace if they are suspected of carrying arms and other equipment to Syria which could be used by Damascus to crack down on the opposition. The measure reinforces an EU ban on arms deliveries to Syria imposed last May.
The EU ministers also decided to extend the existing EU blacklist of 129 people and 49 companies with links to the Syrian government.
The new measures constituted the 17th round of EU sanctions imposed on Syria since the beginning of an uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in March 2011.
The new sanctions came as Syrian government troops have continued their large-scale offensive to force rebels out of Damascus and the northern city of Aleppo. Dozens of people were reported killed and thousands have fled their homes in Syria over the past few days.
Up to 17,000 people have been killed in clashes between Assad troops and opposition fighters since the beginning of the Syrian conflict 17 months ago, according to UN estimates based on accounts provided by Syrian activists.
The UN Refugee Agency said last week that the number of Syrian refugees it has registered or assisted in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey has almost tripled since April to 112,000. The actual number of Syrian refugees is thought to be significantly higher.