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Russia's expenses on military drills partly re-directed to operation in Syria — Putin

December 17, 2015, 13:57 UTC+3

"It would be hard to imagine a better military exercise," Putin said at his annual press conference

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Center 2015 Russian strategic military exercises

Center 2015 Russian strategic military exercises

© Mikhail Metzel/TASS

MOSCOW, December 17 /TASS/. Russia has re-directed part of expenses on military exercises on its military operation in Syria with no additional strain on the state budget, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at the annual news conference when asked if Russia had enough resources to continue its operation in Syria.

"It’s not a serious burden for the budget. We simply redirected part of the funds, which we had originally planned to allocate for military exercises, to our military operation in Syria," the president explained.

"We need to add something of course. But it has no substantial importance for the state budget," Putin stressed.

"We hold large-scale exercises every year. What is the cost of the Tsentr-2015 and Vostok-2015 exercises in which thousands of people have taken part!" Putin added.

"Thousands of people are being re-deployed from one theatre (of military activities) to another. Hundreds of aircraft, etc," the president said.

"We are simply re-directing these funds to the military operation in Syria. It would be hard to imagine a better military exercise. Therefore, in fact, we can continue ‘training’ there for quite a long period of time without any significant damage to our budget," Putin said.

He admitted that the military operation in Syria could have a more serious impact on the Russian economy on the whole.

"What I mean is the solution of economic tasks, which we are facing on the whole. We know and we make no secret of what approximately we need to do and how we are going to act," Putin went on to say.

"If we get back to economy, we should go ahead with import substitution. The problem is not just in replacing imported goods. It is necessary to retool our economy, raise labour productivity and ensure consumer demand. It is also an element of the economic drive," Putin said.

He called for implementing a package of measures, which the government has already announced. "We are going to do that!" Putin stressed.

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