Prime Minister John Key says reports that Russian forces are mostly bombing rebels in Syria, and not Islamic State, are hardly surprising.
In an interview with Time Magazine, Mr Key said Russian President Vladimir Putin's decision to launch airstrikes in Syria were the politics of someone who was trying to prove he had some power.
He said Mr Putin was simply protecting Russia's relationship with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and was not interested in finding a diplomatic solution to the war in Syria.
"In the end, the reason the Russians won't allow a proper resolution to come out of the Security Council on Syria is because they're protecting their interests with Assad. It's not more complicated than that."
Mr Key said Moscow was putting its own interests with the Syrian regime ahead of the lives of millions of innocent people who were displaced and dying.