Russia has maintained that its policy is based on upholding international law and opposition to military action. Russia has found itself on the defensive since last week's massacre in Houla that appeared to target woman and children. As international outrage has grown, Russia has begun to criticize Syrian authorities and has held them, along with rebel groups, responsible for the killings in Houla. A spokesman for Russian President Vladamir Putin said that Russia's opposition to further action against Syria is "completely free of emotions, which are hardly appropriate here." Russian foreign ministry officials added that stopping the violence was more important than a change in government.
Despite the sharp rhetorical disagreements, there are clear signals that the United States and NATO are not ready to engage in military action in Syria. Ivo Daalder, the US envoy to NATO has said that military action is not currently an option even as more news of civilian deaths emerge.