Saudi Arabia has accused Vladimir Putin of hypocrisy after he sent a letter to the Arab League supporting the peaceful “resolution of all problems” it claims Russia is fuelling in the Middle East.
In a letter read out to delegates at the summit in Egypt on Sunday, the Russian President condemned extremist groups including Isis for undermining regional security, attacking civilians and destroying cultural heritage.
“We support the Arabs' aspirations for a prosperous future and for the resolution of all the problems the Arab world faces through peaceful means, without any external interference,” he wrote.
His comments came after Saudi-led air strikes pounded rebels in Yemen, reportedly destroying every one of their fighter jets in the country in bombing that killed dozens of people.
The Saudi Foreign Minister Prince, Saud al-Faisal, reprimanded Mr Putin for Russia’s continuing shipments of arms to the Syrian government.
It has supported President Bashar al-Assad’s forces with weapons including armoured vehicles, drones and guided bombs, throughout the country’s four-year civil war.
Mr Putin defended the flow of arms, which started long before Isis emerged as a separate group, in the wake of numerous allegations of war crimes by al-Assad’s forces.
“He speaks about the problems in the Middle East as though Russia is not influencing these problems,” Mr al-Faisal told the Arab League after the letter was read out.
“They speak about tragedies in Syria while they are an essential part of the tragedies befalling the Syrian people, by arming the Syrian regime above and beyond what it needs to fight its own people.
“I hope that the Russian president corrects this so that the Arab world's relations with Russia can be at their best level.”
Relations between Saudi Arabia and Russia have faltered over Moscow's support for al-Assad, who Riyadh opposes.
In pictures: Syria conflict
In pictures: Syria conflict
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Syrians carry children amid debris following a air strike by government forces in the northern city of Aleppo
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A Syrian man carries a girl on a street covered with dust following a air strike by government forces in the northern city of Aleppo
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Syrians react as they stand amid debris following a air strike by government forces in the northern city of Aleppo
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A Syrian man carries a girl amid debris following a air strike by government forces in the northern city of Aleppo
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An injured Syrian man walks out from the rubble of a destroyed building following a air strike by government forces in the northern city of Aleppo
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A Syrian woman makes her way through debris following a air strike by government forces in the northern city of Aleppo
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People stand on the rubble of collapsed buildings at a site hit by what activists said was a barrel bomb dropped by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, in the Al-Fardous neighbourhood of Aleppo
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Syrian residents stand amid the rubble of destroyed buildings
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A Syrian resident grasps a mattress amid rubble in the al-Firdous neighborhood of the northern city of Aleppo
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A bullet-riddled parking sign stands amid debris in a deserted street leading into the old city of Homs
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A general view shows abandoned buildings on a deserted square in the old city of Homs after Syrian government forces regained control of rebel-controlled areas
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A mosque is pictured through shattered glass in the old city of Homs, as rebel fighters withdrew from the city centre in line with a negotiated withdrawal deal with the government after having held out under tight siege for nearly two years
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Buses carrying Free Syrian Army fighters leaving Homs. Exhausted and worn out from a year-long siege, hundreds of Syrian rebels left their last remaining bastions in the heart of the central city of Homs under a cease-fire deal with government forces. The exit of some 1,200 fighters and civilians will mark a de facto end of the rebellion in the battered city, which was one of the first places to rise up against President Bashar Assad's rule, earning it the nickname of "capital of the revolution"
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Syrian government forces hold up a portrait of President Bashar al-Assad (L) while others raise the national flag on top of a pole in the old city of Homs
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Forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad run through Aleppo's Bustan al-Qasr crossing after their release by rebels. They were freed as part of a larger deal which saw the last remaining Syrian rebels in central Homs city evacuate their positions and free captives in several locations in northern Syria
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A Syrian woman and two children walk past heavily damaged buildings in the northern city of Aleppo
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A man carries a wounded girl following a reported bombardment with explosive-packed "barrel bombs" by Syrian government forces in the al-Mowasalat neighborhood of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo
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A wounded man sits as he is treated at a makeshift hospital following a reported bombardment with explosive-packed "barrel bombs" by Syrian government forces in the al-Sakhour district of the northern city of Aleppo
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Debris rises in what Free Syrian Army fighters and Islamic rebels said was an operation to strike Al-Sahaba checkpoint, which is considered a gateway to Al-Dayf valley, and remove forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar Al-Assad in Maarat Al-Nouman, Idlib province
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Men try to put out fire at a site hit by what activists said was an air strike by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the town of Azaz, north of Aleppo, near the border with Turkey
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Civil Defence members try to put out fire
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Survivors react at a site hit by what activists said was an air strike by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the town of Azaz, north of Aleppo, near the border with Turkey
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Residents queue as they wait to receive food aid distributed by the UNRWA at the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk, south of Damascus
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Belongings of Syrian rebels inside a chapel at Crac des Chevaliers, the world's best preserved medieval Crusader castle in Syria. The village was destroyed in fighting between the government and rebel forces while the castle, listed as a UNESCO world heritage site, also has been damaged over the past two years
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Hosen Sabah, a 16-year-old student is comforted by his mother at a hospital in Damascus. Nosen was wounded by a mortar outside his school, while 14 other students were killed and over 80 wounded
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A Free Syrian Army fighter works on a locally made launcher before firing it towards forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar Al-Assad in Mork town
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Syrian policemen and citizens inspecting the site of a car bomb at the entrance of Moadhamiyet al-Sham neighborhood in rural Damascus. According to Syria's Arab News Agency (SANA), a car bomb explosion has gone off in the countryside of Damascus and initial information say there are casualties, where a car rigged with explosions was remotely detonated at the entrance of Moadhamiyet al-Sham neighborhood in rural Damascus during engineering units it was trying to dismantled it
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Opposition fighters carrying a rocket launcher during clashes against government forces in the Sheikh Lutfi area, west of the airport in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo
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A Syrian man helps a woman to make her way through debris following reported air strikes by government forces in the Halak neighbourhood in northeastern Aleppo
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A Syrian man reacts as he carries the body of injured boy following reported air strikes by government forces in the Halak neighbourhood in northeastern Aleppo. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, at least 33 civilians were killed in the attack
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Syrian rescue workers carry the body of a woman following reported air strikes by government forces in the Halak neighbourhood in northeastern Aleppo
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Syrians gather at the site of reported air strikes by government forces in the Halak neighbourhood in northeastern Aleppo
But other members of the Arab League are more cordial, including Egypt which has improved ties with Moscow and gave Mr Putin a warm welcome during a state visit in February.
The two-day Arab League summit ended with a vow to defeat Iranian-backed Shia rebels in Yemen and form a joint Arab military intervention force as multiple conflicts continue.
Yemeni rebels the Houthis swept down from their northern strongholds last year and captured the capital, Sanaa, in September, forcing President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi to flee.
A Saudi-led coalition began bombing Yemen on Thursday, saying it was targeting the Houthis and their allies, which include forces loyal to Yemen's former leader, Ali Abdullah Saleh.
Arab League chief Nabil Elaraby said the campaign code-named Operation Decisive Storm would continue until all Houthi militias “withdraw and surrender their weapons”.
The the Saudi-led air campaign has pushed Houthi rebels out of contested air bases, Saudi Brigadier General Ahmed bin Hasan Asiri told reporters.
Air strikes hit Houthi targets throughout Sunday, including air defences, ammunition depots, missile launch pads, heavy weapons and vehicles the rebels had seized from government forces.
The Yemeni health ministry, controlled by the Houthi movement, said on Sunday that the air strikes had killed 35 people and wounded 88 during the night before. The figures could not be independently confirmed.
Additional reporting by agenciesReuse content