June 16, 2013
(CNN) — Russian President Vladimir Putin warned the West on Sunday against arming Syrian rebels “who kill their enemies and eat their organs,” referencing a widely circulated video that purports to show a rebel fighter eating the heart of a dead soldier.
Putin’s comments signaled a clear disapproval of a U.S. plan to increase military support to Syrian rebels, and his warning came just one day before he was to meet with U.S. President Barack Obama for talks at the Group of Eight summit in Northern Ireland where Syria is expected to top the agenda.
“I believe you will not deny that one should hardly back those who kill their enemies and eat their organs. … Do you want to support these people? Do you want to supply arms to these people?” Putin asked, speaking to reporters in London after meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron.
The video referenced by Putin first surfaced online in May and generated outrage. The video, which was posted by a group loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, also raised questions abut the credibility of the rebels despite widespread condemnation of the act by the opposition.
Putin said those actions do not represent the “humanitarian and cultural values” of Europe or Russia.