September 12th, 2013
11:06 AM ET

Should World Trust Russian President Putin?

Russian President Vladimir Putin criticizes the U.S. policy on Syria and President Obama in an open letter in the 'New York Times.'

This action has some doubting Putin's commitment to bring a diplomatic solution to the country. CNN's Brianna Keilar reports.

President Putin suggests the U.S. is being duped by the rebels and that Bashar al-Assad may not be responsible for recent chemical attacks.

He writes: "There is every reason to believe it was used not by the Syrian army, but by opposition forces, to provoke intervention by their powerful foreign patrons."

This comes as France says the United Nations will probably publish its report on the August chemical attack in Damascus on Monday.  The country says there will be indications in the report the Assad regime was behind the attack.

After hearing about the letter at a meal, Democratic Senator Robert Menendez, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, told CNN's Jake Tapper, he felt sick.

"I almost wanted to vomit," said Menendez. "I worry when someone who came up through the KGB tells us what is in our national interests, and what is not. It really raises the question of how serious the Russian proposal is."

Though CNN's Chief International Correspondent Christiane Amanpour weighs in on the letter and suggests to separate the message from the messenger.

Amanpour notes that Putin puts himself squarely behind owning this diplomatic initiative and that is a good thing for President Obama. In the long- run, it shows that he's trying every possible solution besides military action first.

Though Amanpour agrees where Putin goes astray is when he makes assertions about the Syrian rebels.

She says, "I think where Putin goes off on these crazy tangents, is when he writes in the 'New York Times' that he thinks that the rebels have used these chemical weapons and not only that, that they’re planning another chemical weapons attack against Israel.I mean this kind of stuff is not based in any kind of evidence that we’ve ever seen them produce."

SEE HER FULL INTERVIEW  

Putin has emerged as a sort of peacemaker in these negotiations and the Obama administration has cautiously backed his proposal for Syria to surrender their chemical weapon stockpiles to international control.

Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will meet in Geneva, Switzerland, Thursday to discuss the diplomatic opportunity.

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