MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin has issued a strong warning against incitement to violent regime change in the Middle East in an apparent rebuke of Western calls for an end to Syrian President Bashar Assad's rule.
Putin said Wednesday the international community should operate as a united front to soothe tensions in the Mideast.
He says violent regime change would only fuel further unrest.
The statement appeared to again pit Putin against President Barack Obama, who used his speech at the U.N. General Assembly this week to call for an end to the Assad regime over its crackdown on an uprising that began in March 2011.
Putin said in a speech to foreign diplomats that attempts to circumvent U.N.-led diplomacy with unilateral actions would only lead to "destabilization and chaos."