A top Russian official on Thursday played down criticism over the country's airstrikes in Syria, saying Russia sees "eye-to-eye" with a U.S.-led coalition targeting the Islamic State terror group.
At the United Nations, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Moscow had targeted "depots and sites" of ISIS, adding the country would only strike terrorist groups. He noted that military talks with the United States would take place "very, very soon."
Just hours after the Russian parliament waved through military intervention in Syria, its first airstrikes in the civil war-torn Middle Eastern country were confirmed Wednesday night. On Thursday, there were further strikes on rebel positions in the northwest, Lebanon's al-Mayadeen TV reported. This came after tense discussions this week between President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin over the best course of action in Syria.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Thursday that Russian involvement risks making the Syrian conflict "indefinite" and has forced the U.S. to re-evaluate its strategy there. It added the U.S. and Russia held the first in a series of talks on "deconflicting" aircraft operations and military communications.
"Russia will have to pay the costs" of its strikes in Syria, Earnest said, adding that the White House would not rule out formal diplomatic action. He said the White House perceives the country has not fully made distinctions between terrorists and opposition groups.