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Statement of the President of Russia V.Putin on Syria made at the meeting with Foreign Minister S.Lavrov and Defence Minister S.Shoygu

V.Putin S.Lavrov S.Shoigu.jpg

Vladimir Putin:

In a short period, Russia has created a military group that is small in number but quite effective - one consisting of different types of forces and diverse capabilities. These include space reconnaissance, drones, combat missile strike systems in fighter aircraft and assault aircraft. They also include Navy forces that used the most modern weaponry from two seas - the Mediterranean and the Caspian - while working from surface ships and submarines. We created a powerful air defence system, including the most modern S-400 complexes.

The truly effective work by our troops has created conditions to start the peace process. I feel that the objectives set before the Defence Ministry and the Russian Armed Forces in the Syrian Arab Republic have generally been fulfilled.

With participation by Russian troops and Russian military grouping, the Syrian troops and Syrian patriotic forces, we were able to radically change the situation in fighting international terrorism and take initiative in nearly all areas to create the conditions for the start of a peace process, as I said.

At the same time, our service members - soldiers and officers - have demonstrated professionalism, teamwork and the ability to organise this military work far from their territory, without a common border with the seat of war. They operated effectively over the course of nearly half a year, bringing the necessary supplies and guidance to the military operations.

I feel that the objective set before the Defence Ministry and the Armed Forces is generally fulfilled, so I order the Defence Ministry to begin withdrawing the main part of our military group from the Syrian Arab Republic beginning tomorrow. I ask the Foreign Ministry to intensify the Russian Federation's participation in organising the peace process to resolve Syria's problems.

At the same time, our base points - our maritime base in Tartus and our aviation base at the Hmeymim airbase - will function as before. They must be protected securely from land, sea and air.

This part of our military group was located in Syria over the course of many previous years, and today, it must continue to fulfil the highly important function of monitoring the ceasefire and creating conditions for the peace process.

I hope that today's decision will be a good signal for all conflicting sides. I hope that this will significantly lift the level of trust between all participants in the Syrian peace process and promote resolving the Syrian issue via peaceful means.

March 14, 2016

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