Russian President Dmitry Medvedev called the situation in Syria "dramatic" and expressed "enormous concern" over the deadly violence in the country.
"Unfortunately, people die there in large numbers. This arouses enormous concern from us," the Russian leader said in
an interview given to Russian media in the southern resort Sochi.
Syria's President Bashar al-Assad needs to "carry out urgent reforms, come to terms with the opposition, restore peace and create a modern state," Medvedev said as quoted by the Interfax news agency.
"If he cannot do this, a sad fate awaits him, and in the end we will have to take some decision. We are watching the
way the situation develops. As it changes, some of our perspectives also change."
Medvedev's remarks follow a foreign ministry statement Monday strongly criticising the government's crackdown on
demonstrations in Syria in a sign of a shift in Russia's rigid position on the conflict in the UN Security Council.
Russia together with China, both of which hold veto power in the UN Security Council, have persistently blocked a
Western-drafted resolution on Syria to the irritation of other world powers.
Moscow has repeatedly stressed that it was firmly opposed to foreign interference in Syria, its ally since Soviet times,
and believed its regional ally could find a political solution to its crisis.