Putin cancels Paris visit as Russia renews heavy bombing of Aleppo

Regime ally Russia carried out its heaviest strikes in days on Syria’s Aleppo on Tuesday, as at least five children were killed in rebel fire on a school in the war-torn country’s south. The raids killed 16 civilians, a monitor said, and caused massive damage to several residential areas of the city’s rebel-held east. Russian President Vladimir Putin, meanwhile, canceled a planned trip to Paris in a row over the violence in Syria, where Moscow is helping President Bashar Assad’s forces in an operation to recapture all of Aleppo. The announcement from the Kremlin came a day after French President François Hollande described the campaign in the battered city as a war crime.

[A] serious step … reminiscent of the Cold War. This is part of the broader escalation in the tensions between Russia and the West, and Russia and NATO.

Russian foreign policy analyst Fyodor Lukyanov

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson meanwhile warned Russia that it risked becoming a pariah nation if it continues to bomb civilian sites in Syria and urged protesters to demonstrate outside the Russian embassy against its alleged war crimes. Western nations on the United Nations Security Council are taking a tougher line amid growing anger and fears for the fate of more than 250,000 civilians trapped inside the east of the city since the government imposed a siege in mid-July. Russia last week vetoed a French-drafted Security Council resolution demanding an immediate end to airstrikes and military flights over Aleppo. It was the fifth time that Russia used its veto to block U.N. action to end the five-year war in Syria that has sent millions fleeing and triggered the biggest migration crisis in Europe since World War II.