MOSCOW: Russia on Monday warned the West against intervening militarily in the Syrian conflict without the approval of the U.N. Security Council, saying such action would violate international law.
"Using force without the approval of the U.N. Security Council is a very grave violation of international law," Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters.
Speaking at a news conference urgently convened just a few hours before, he added that the West was currently moving towards "a very dangerous path, a very slippery path".
"If anyone thinks that destroying Syria's military infrastructure and leaving the battleground open for the opposition to take victory would be the end of it, that is an illusion," said Lavrov.
"Even in case of such a victory, civil war will continue, only the side of the government will be the opposition side."
After journalists repeatedly asked Lavrov how Russia would react to the possible Western intervention he also said: "We (Russia) do not intend to fight with anyone."
The top Russian diplomat said military intervention would be a grave mistake and also scupper any hopes of convening a peace conference to resolve the conflict.
"Why would they (opposition) agree to go to the conference if now the military is bombed and opposition marches into Damascus to rule?"
"This is not just an illusion, it is a grave mistake that will not lead to any peace, but only mark a new even bloodier stage of the war in Syria," said Lavrov.
Lavrov said the West has been unable to produce any evidence to back claims that the Syrian government used chemical weapons in an incident last week that has prompted calls for military action.
"They (the West) have not been able to come up with any proof but are saying at the same time that the red line has been crossed and there can be no delay," Lavrov said.
He added that calls for military action "contradicted" agreements from the G8 summit at Loch Erne in Northern Ireland in June.
Lavrov compared the current atmosphere to the events that built up to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the 2011 NATO-led air campaign against the Moamer Kadhafi regime in Libya.
"The intimidation campaign has already begun, the events in Iraq ten years ago and in Libya more recently began the same way," Lavrov said.
He slammed the West for formulating "ad hoc policy, while we need policy that is comprehensive and logical."
Lavrov also accused the West of double standards in foreign policy.
"You cannot fight with a regime only because you don't like the dictator that heads it and then not fight another regime where you like the authoritarian ruler."