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McCain to parry Putin N.Y. Times op-ed with one for Pravda

U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) speaks to reporters after attending a "Conversation On Immigration" during a town hall event in Mesa, Arizon
U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) speaks to reporters after attending a "Conversation On Immigration" during a town hall event in Mesa, Arizon

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Senator John McCain will submit an opinion piece to the Russian newspaper Pravda in response to an op-ed on Syria in The New York Times by Russian President Vladimir Putin that infuriated many members of Congress, a spokesman said on Friday.

"Senator McCain is glad to take them up on the offer and will submit a piece," said Brian Rogers, a spokesman for the senior Republican senator, one of the leading congressional voices on international affairs.

The announcement came a day after the venerable U.S. newspaper published a Putin commentary in which the Russian leader painted himself as a peacemaker and lectured Washington for what he called a tendency to use "brute force" in international politics.

Many U.S. lawmakers made clear they did not welcome the Russian leader's input into their debate over approving missile strikes in response to the apparent use of chemical weapons by Putin's ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

"I almost wanted to vomit," Senator Robert Menendez, a Democrat and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said on CNN.

McCain and Menendez were among 10 members of the foreign relations panel who voted last week to approve a resolution authorizing President Barack Obama to use military force against Syria.

The resolution has not yet been put to the full Senate, as Washington and Moscow pursue a diplomatic solution to the crisis.

McCain's decision to write a column for Pravda came about after the U.S. publication Foreign Policy sent the Russian outlet a transcript of a CNN interview in which McCain discussed Russian restrictions on press freedom and joked that he would like to write for Pravda.

Pravda responded by saying that it would be pleased to publish a story "by such a prominent politician as John McCain," Foreign Policy said.

(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Philip Barbara)

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