MOSCOW, July 20. /TASS/. Russia’s expenses on its counter-terror operation in Syria do not exceed the Russian Armed Forces’ current combat training costs, Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov said on Thursday, responding to the calculations made by Yabloko party.
"The expenses on the Russian air task force’s operation in the Syrian Arab Republic do not exceed the Defense Ministry’s spending on the current measures of troops’ combat and operational training," he said.
The Russian Defense Ministry has been unable to determine "at least the contours of the method, which Yabloko used to make its conclusions on Russia’s alleged huge expenses on the operation of our air task force in Syria," the spokesman said.
"Moreover, already at the beginning of this ‘labor,’ it was indicated to justify unproven huge sums that ‘all this corresponds to the calculations of RBC media group," the spokesman said.
"The mention of the media group’s year-long publication as an indisputable criterion of truth can hardly serve as a serious argument for high-profile political statements," Konashenkov added.
As the Russian Defense Ministry spokesman said, these calculations are based on the data of "a fake report circulated in the Western media in December 2015 with reference to the conclusions by analysts of the UK Royal United Services Institute for Defense and Security Studies."
"To be more specific, these are the conjectures by Mr. Igor Sutyagin who was convicted in Russia for espionage and transferred to the United States in 2010 who is now called an ‘analyst’ and a ‘researcher,’" the spokesman said.
"Once again, we have to disappoint all former and future failed accountants and military spending analysts," the general said.
The Russian daily earlier published a material with Yabloko’s estimate of the Russian Defense Ministry’s budget for the Syria operation commenced in September 2015.
Yabloko’s analysts estimated the expenditures at 108-140.4 billion rubles ($1.8-2.4 billion). It was noted that Yabloko’s estimates were based on the methodology that had helped RBC media group to estimate the cost of the operation in March 2016.