Putin: Russia military not building long-term in Syria





MOSCOW (AP) - President Vladimir Putin on Thursday said Russia has no plans to pull its military out of Syria, but isn't building permanent facilities there.

The troops "will stay there for as long as it is to Russia's advantage, and to fulfill our international responsibilities," he said during his annual televised call-in show. But, he said, "we are not building long-term installations there and if necessary can withdraw our servicemen quite quickly without any material losses."

Syria is Russia's only military foothold in the Middle East, using leased facilities for ships at Tartus and for an air base in Khemeimee. Putin didn't elaborate under what circumstances Russia could leave or on Moscow's broader strategy.

In the nearly 4 ½ hours of the call-in show, Putin addressed a wide range of questions, largely domestic concerns such as road conditions, health care and village schools.

On international questions, he said he believes other countries wrongly regard Russia as a threat and that mistaken concept can end if they see that the economic sanctions the West has put on Russia don't serve their interests.

Russia has been hit with sanctions by the U.S. and the West over its 2014 annexation of Crimea, its support for separatist rebels in Ukraine's east and its alleged interference in the U.S. 2016 presidential election.

Britain has also blamed the nerve agent poisoning in the U.K. of a Russian former spy and his daughter on Russia, which it denies. Both the West and Russia have expelled more than 150 diplomats on each side over that issue.

"This pressure will end when our partners become convinced that the methods used by them are ineffective, counterproductive and harmful to all," Putin said Thursday. "They see Russia as a threat. They see that Russia has become a competitor to them ... we propose that this is a very mistaken policy."

The annual call-in show, like Putin's marathon news conference each winter, is an elaborate demonstration of Putin's stamina, reinforcing his dominance of Russia's politics.

The phenomenon itself is treated as being as interesting as Putin answers, with a tally of the number of messages submitted (about 2.5 million), questions answered (79, plus four that he fielded from foreign journalists after the show) and frequent shots of squads of workers at computers monitoring questions submitted by viewers.

This was Putin's first show since being inaugurated for a new six-year term last month, in which he promised extensive efforts to get Russia's economy to grow into one of the world's top five.

On Thursday, he said Russia's gross domestic product is currently 1.5 percent higher than a year ago. He described it as modest but said he's confident that future "growth is guaranteed."

Putin also said the government will be looking to streamline the tax system in order to fight poverty, but denied speculation that Russia was considering abandoning its flat-rate income tax.

COMMENTS

More Related News

Trust in Russia
Trust in Russia's Putin falls to 13-year low: state pollster
  • World
  • 2019-01-21 17:14:31Z

Public trust in President Vladimir Putin has fallen to its lowest level in 13 years, according to a Russian state pollster, a setback for the Kremlin which works hard to burnish Putin's image as a wise father-of-the-nation-style leader. The poll, by the Public Opinion Research Centre, found that

U.S. calls on Russia to destroy new missile system
U.S. calls on Russia to destroy new missile system

Robert Wood, U.S. disarmament ambassador, said the system was capable of carrying both conventional and nuclear warheads and represented a "potent and direct threat to Europe and Asia" as it had a range of 500 to 1,500 kilometers (310-620 miles). The United States last week rejected a Russian offer to save the landmark INF treaty that keeps nuclear missiles out of Europe because it could not be properly verified, setting the stage for Washington to withdraw from the pact next month. "Unfortunately, the United States increasingly finds that Russia cannot be trusted to comply with its arms control obligations and that its coercive and malign actions around the globe have increased...

Giuliani says Trump pursued Moscow tower throughout
Giuliani says Trump pursued Moscow tower throughout '16, raising questions
  • US
  • 2019-01-20 19:33:45Z

U.S. President Donald Trump pursued a business deal to erect a tower bearing his name in Moscow throughout 2016, his attorney said on Sunday, raising new questions for congressional investigators looking into possible ties between the president and Russia. Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani said he may have continued to pursue the project and had discussions about it with his former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, until as late as October or November 2016, when Trump was closing in on his election victory against Democrat Hillary Clinton. The Moscow deal ultimately did not materialize but Giuliani's remarks suggest that Trump's discussions about the project with Cohen may have dragged on...

Trump Discussed Russia Tower Deal Into Late 2016, Giuliani Says
Trump Discussed Russia Tower Deal Into Late 2016, Giuliani Says

Guiliani said it's his understanding that conversations between Trump and Michael Cohen continued as late as October or November of that year. Cohen admitted in a guilty plea in late 2018 that he spoke with Trump and Russian officials about the potential deal as late as June 2016, after Cohen earlier told Congress it had ended much earlier. "It's our understanding that it, that they went on throughout 2016," Giuliani said of the discussions on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday.

Model in Russian court apologizes for US election claim
Model in Russian court apologizes for US election claim

MOSCOW (AP) - A Belarusian model and self-styled sex instructor who last year claimed to have evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election said Saturday that she apologizes to a Russian tycoon for the claim and won't say more about the matter.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Latin America

facebook
Hit "Like"
Don't miss any important news
Thanks, you don't need to show me this anymore.