MOSCOW - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has warned US Secretary of State John Kerry over the "extremely dangerous consequences" of launching military action against the Syrian regime, the foreign ministry said Monday.
Lavrov told Kerry in a telephone call Sunday that Moscow was "deeply alarmed" by comments from US officials indicating a readiness to intervene in Syria in the wake of accusations the regime had used chemical weapons, it said in a statement.
"Sergei Lavrov drew attention to the extremely dangerous consequences of a possible new military intervention for the whole Middle East and North Africa region," it added.
Lavrov told Kerry that it appeared certain elements inside the United States wanted to launch military action in Syria outside of the United Nations to undermine joint US-Russia efforts to organise a peace conference.
The Russian minister urged his US counterpart "to refrain from using military pressure against Damascus and not to give into provocations."
The ministry said Kerry promised to "attentively" study the arguments of the Russian side.
Russia underlined the necessity of an objective UN investigation into the claimed chemical attack and repeated its doubts that the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad was to blame.
"There is mounting evidence that the incident was a pretence set up by the rebel opposition with the aim of accusing the Damascus government of everything," the statement said.