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September 12th, 2013
10:23 AM ET

Should World Trust Putin After Open Letter?

He says he hopes his "friends" in Syria bring their chemical weapons under control and also "have them destroyed" but Vladmir Putin's role as the last, best hope for diplomacy in this crisis isn't winning believers in Washington. CNN's Brian Todd reports.

Sen. John Cornyn, a Texas Republican on the Armed Services Committee says, "the Russians are part of the problem in Syria. They are not credibly part of the solution."

This skepticism builds as President Putin writes an open letter in the New York Times  saying it is not the Syrian government that should be blamed for the use of chemical weapons in the country. 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."

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

Senators Cornyn, John McCain and others have been ticking through laundry lists of why they believe Putin won't follow through on getting the Syrians to give up their alleged chemical weapons.

They cite planeloads of Russian weapons sent to the Syrian regime for hefty profits, nearly $1 billion worth in 2011 alone.

There's also a Russian naval base in Syria.

Julia Ioffe, senior editor at the New Republic, spent three years as a journalist in Russia. She says Putin views his role in the world "to be a counterweight to America."

Though Senator Diane Feinstein and others believe Putin does want to reach a deal to end this crisis and that he doesn't want Syria to have chemical weapons.

Ioffe says Putin wants to be the cause of attention and show President Obama that he has the ability to end this issue peacefully.

The reporter notes the Russian president wants "to be center stage, to be somebody that you reckon with, somebody that you have to come to and seek his approval and you have to come and kiss his ring."

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