MOSCOW (Sputnik) — In an interview with the Vesti v Subbotu (Saturday News) television show Medvedev denied all accusations against Russia suggesting its operation in Syria aims to support Assad.
"No, that is absolutely not true. The Syrian people should decide who will rule the country… At the moment we consider Assad to be legitimate president," Medvedev said.
"That is why, of course, we are not fighting for some specific leaders, we are protecting our national interests, on the one hand. The president [Vladimir Putin] once said that if we do not eliminate those terrorists they will come to Russia. And secondly, there is an official request from the Syrian legitimate government," Medvedev said.
It is not important for Russia who will head the Syrian government in the future as long as it is a legitimate and civilized power, not the Islamic State jihadist group, he added.
"It does not matter who will be the head [of the Syrian government]. We don’t want the Islamic State to head the Syrian Republic, right? But it must be a civilized, legitimate power."
Medvedev said that political issues on resolving the long-standing conflict in Syria should be discussed by all countries, including Russia and the United States, who are interested in bringing peace to the Middle East.
The US refusal to receive Russia's delegation to discuss the Syrian issue has nothing to do with personal relations with President Barack Obama, the Russian prime minister said.
Medvedev added that Washington’s response was rather strange, given the serious state of the long-standing conflict in Syria.
Washington proposed to jointly fight against terrorists in Syria, but now refuses to share intelligence with Moscow, Dmitry Medvedev said.
The prime minister added that Russia had obtained a mandate for carrying airstrikes on ISIL extremists in Syria following Syrian President Bashar Assad’s request for assistance. However, the United States declined cooperating with Moscow and Damascus on targets collected by Russian and Syrian intelligence services.
"[Washington] tells us that either strikes are not carried out on right targets or the targets are wrong. On our legitimate question to show us the targets, which should be hit, they say ‘No, we will not show anything.’ What kind of cooperation is this?" Medvedev said.