(Reuters) - Russia is sending more warplanes to Syria to ramp up its campaign of air strikes, a Russian newspaper reported on Friday, as Moscow defied global censure over an escalation that Western countries say has torpedoed diplomacy.
U.S. President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel described the Russian and Syrian bombing of the city of Aleppo as "barbarous", the White House said after the two leaders spoke by telephone.
Fighting intensified a week into a new Russian-backed government offensive to capture all of Syria's largest city and crush the last remaining urban stronghold of the rebellion.
Moscow and its ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, spurned a ceasefire agreed this month to launch the offensive, potentially the biggest and most decisive battle in the Syrian civil war which is now in its sixth year.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday that Moscow was ready to consider more ways to normalize the situation in Aleppo.
But in a phone call with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Lavrov criticized Washington's failure to separate moderate rebel groups from those the Russians call terrorists, which had allowed forces led by the group formerly known as the Nusra front to violate the truce brokered by Moscow and Washington.
The call came a day after Kerry said there was no point pursuing further negotiations with Russia over Syria "in the context of the kind of bombing taking place".
Western countries accuse Russia of war crimes, saying it has deliberately targeted civilians, hospitals and aid deliveries in recent days to crush the will of 250,000 people trapped inside Aleppo's besieged rebel-held sector.
Moscow and Damascus say they have targeted only militants.
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