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Putin in op-ed: 'We must stop using the language of force'

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Russian President Vladimir Putin argued for a peaceful solution to the crisis in Syria in a New York Times op-ed published late Wednesday. Russian President Vladimir Putin argued for a peaceful solution to the crisis in Syria in a New York Times op-ed published late Wednesday.
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(RNN) - A day after President Barack Obama pledged to pursue diplomatic routes in Syria while leaving the threat of force in place, Russian President Vladimir Putin called for "peaceful dialogue" in an op-ed published by the New York Times late Wednesday.

Saying "recent events surrounding Syria have prompted me to speak directly to the American people and their political leaders," Putin, an ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, argued a strike without UN approval would violate international law.

Additionally, it would "result in more innocent victims and escalation, potentially spreading the conflict far beyond Syria's borders. A strike would increase violence and unleash a new wave of terrorism," Putin wrote.

In a speech broadcast in prime time across several networks Tuesday, Obama spoke of a possible targeted military strike aimed at taking out Syria's chemical weapons.

The Obama administration maintains the Syrian government killed at least 1,000 people in a chemical weapons attack in August, gassing men, women and children.

"On that terrible night, the world saw in gruesome detail the terrible nature of chemical weapons, and why the overwhelming majority of humanity has declared them off-limits, a crime against humanity, and a violation of the laws of war," Obama said.

In the op-ed, Putin argued opposition forces and not the Syrian army may have carried out the gas attacks.

"We must stop using the language of force and return to the path of civilized diplomatic and political settlement," Putin wrote.

On Tuesday, Obama asked Congress to halt votes on authorizing military force while diplomacy efforts were underway.

Russia has proposed that Syria surrender its chemical weapons to international control in an effort to thwart military action.

On Thursday, Secretary of State John Kerry is due to meet with Russia's foreign minister to discuss the proposal.

"If we can avoid force against Syria, this will improve the atmosphere in international affairs and strengthen mutual trust. It will be our shared success and open the door to cooperation on other critical issues," Putin wrote.

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