Russian lawmakers voted unanimously on Wednesday to let President Vladimir Putin send Russian troops to Syria. The Kremlin sought to play down the decision, saying it will only use its air force there, not ground troops.
Mr. Putin has to request parliamentary approval for any use of Russian troops abroad, according to the Constitution.
The Federation Council, the upper chamber of the Russian Parliament, discussed Mr. Putin’s request for the authorisation on Wednesday. Sergei Ivanov, chief of Mr. Putin’s administration, said in televised remarks after the discussion that the Parliament voted unanimously to give the green light to Mr. Putin’s plea.
'Russia to help Assad’s offensive'
Mr. Putin said that Russia is “not going to plunge into this conflict head-on” and will help Bashar Assad’s Army as long as their offensive operation lasts.
Mr. Putin also said he expects Mr. Assad to sit down and talk with the Syrian opposition about a political settlement in Syria.
Russian opposition was rattled by the Kremlin’s request and the way the vote was held.
“The fact that the Federation Council considered sending our troops abroad behind closed doors looks unconstitutional,” opposition leader Alexei Navalny tweeted. “Or is it just their own grandsons who are going off (to fight)?”