Russia's upper house of parliament has authorized the use of military force in Syria, Russian news agencies announced Wednesday, after President Vladimir Putin personally requested it consider the move.
"I want to say the result of the vote was a unanimous approval of the Russian president’s request," Sergei Ivanov, who heads Putin's administration, stated.
"Importantly: this is specifically about Syria. I want to underline that this is not about any kind of political objective or ambitions that we have been accused of by our western partners. It is only about international interests of Russian Federation."
Among those interests, he said, are defending Syrian President Bashar Assad's forces against rebels.
"Already a range of states are conducting rocket bomb strikes in Syria and Iraq, including the United States. France recently joined those operations," Ivanov said.
"But these actions violate international law. To be in accordance with international law, one condition must be observed: either a UNSC resolution, or a request for military assistance from the state on whose territory those strikes are to take place."
Moscow's military assistance is in response to a specific request from Assad for aid; Ivanov added that military involvement would be "temporary."
Russia has stepped up its military involvement in Syria in recent weeks, with U.S. officials accusing Moscow of sending combat aircraft, tanks and other equipment to help the Syrian army.