The West is trying to convince Russia to offer Syrian President Bashar Assad political asylum, although Russia claims it has no intention of doing so, media reports said Wednesday.
But the source added that Russia has never entertained such plans.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has repeatedly denied that Russia would harbor the unpopular Syrian president, whose country has been wracked by an internal conflict lasting more than a year.
"We aren't defending Assad," an unidentified Kremlin source told Kommersant. "The president of Syria has missed his chance. The likelihood of him remaining in power is slim, about 10 percent."
Russia has been accused of protecting Assad after blocking several UN Security Council resolutions drafted by Western powers calling for Assad's ouster.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said "Assad must leave" an international conference on Syria in Geneva last week, while UN and Arab League special envoy Kofi Annan backed forming transition government to smooth the effects of Assad's exit.
According to human rights organization, more than 15,000 people have died — including significant civilian casualties — during the armed uprising against Assad. (The Moscow Times)