Russian President, Vladimir Putin, is holding his 11th annual news conference with a special focus on international events. Similar news conferences in the past have lasted up to several hours.
- Russia will continue military operations in Syria as long as Syria needs help: “We’ll keep launching airstrikes and supporting the Syrian Army offensive as long as the Syrian Army keeps conducting these operations,” Russian President said.
- Expectations of a relationship with the next president of the US: “We are willing to cooperate with the next president to work on joint issues, we have never tried to isolate ourselves.”
- Deployment of Russian S-400 air defense complexes to the Khmeimim air base in Syria brought violations of Syrian airspace by Turkish Air Force to a halt. Putin: “Just see them try to fly [there] now”.
- Can Erdogan do anything to resolve the problem? Putin: “If they want to do something, let them do it.As far as the base, do we need a military base in Syria? Who knows, it is expensive and hard work. I am not sure we need a base in Syria. If we need to reach someone, we will reach them.”
- The operation of the Russian Air Force in Syria does not burden the Russia’s budget. “This is the best training,” Putin noted, adding that in this manner the air group in Syria could “train for quite some time.”
- The Russian-Georgian relations: Putin said it was not Russia who initiated the deterioration of the relations with Georgia but solely and completely the Georgian authorities. But Russia is ready to restore the relations, the president says. Russia is ready to abolish the visa regime with Georgia.
- Russia isn’t going to introduce any kind of sanctions against Ukraine. Russia is interested in the conflict in Ukraine being solved as soon as possible. [SF: In general, Putin almost said that Ukraine isn’t negotiable and ingores the Minsk agreements].
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