Obama: US Must be Skeptical in Any Discussions With Russia

US officials continue to condemn Russia’s actions to support the Syrian regime, though President Barack Obama said there might not be an alternative to working with Russian leaders to reduce the violence in that country. Obama, speaking during a Thursday press conference at the Pentagon following a meeting of the National Security Council, said Russia’s direct actions to support Syrian President Bashar al Assad “raises very serious questions about their commitment to pulling the situation back from the brink.” The US is prepared to work with Russia if that country can shift its focus to solely defeating ISIS, but “So far Russia has failed to take the necessary steps.” The country has so far been supporting “a murderous regime” and the US needs to be skeptical if it tries to broker an agreement with Russian President Vladimir Putin. “I’m not confident that we can trust the Russians or Vladimir Putin, which is why we have to test whether or not we can get an actual cessation of hostilities,” Obama said. “That includes an end to the kinds of aerial bombing and civilian death and destruction that we’ve seen carried out by the Assad regime.” (See also: Strange Negotiations)