Russia is calling for an immediate ceasefire between government forces and rebels in Syria.

Speaking before scheduled talks with Kofi Annan, the special United Nations-Arab League envoy to Syria, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters that only a simultaneous end to violence is possible, followed by a simultaneous pullout of troops closely monitored by U.N. observers.

But Russia also said that it would not support a United Nations' condemnation of Bashar al-Assad, and is planning to block a UK-sponsored Security Council draft resolution that would also extend the mandate of the current observer mission in Syria. Instead, Moscow is relying on the success of Annan's six-point peace plan, which was ignored by the both sides in Syria in April.

We do not support Assad. We support what has been agreed by all sides, Lavrov stated, referring to the cease fire.