MOSCOW - Russia believes most of Syria's chemical arsenal should be removed from the country rather than destroyed there, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov was quoted as saying on Friday.
Ryabkov spoke after meeting Sigrid Kaag, head of the joint United Nations-Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) mission to destroy Syria's chemical weapons.
"Much speaks in favor of the overwhelming portion of poisonous substances in Syria being removed beyond its borders," state-run news agency RIA quoted Ryabkov as saying. He did not explain the reasons for that view.
Russia has been Syrian President Bashar Assad's most powerful backer during the two-and-a-half-year-old conflict, blocking UN Security Council resolutions meant to pressure him and saying his exit cannot be a precondition for peace talks.