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Lawmaker says Russia does not seek expansion, but is ready to defend national interests

September 30, 2015, 15:39 UTC+3 MOSCOW
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MOSCOW, September 30. /TASS/. Russia does not aim at expansion but will defend its national interests in any part of the globe, State Duma Deputy Speaker Nikolay Levichev said on Wednesday, commenting on the upper house green light to use Russian warplanes in Syria.

Unlike American troops leaving "scorched earth", the presence of Russian armed forces in different trouble spots had always brought a real end to bloodshed, Levichev said, citing the Balkans and the former Georgian breakaway republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

"That is why we have been once again asked to help, and we have once again agreed," the politician noted, adding that Islamic State was not only a regional threat for North Africa and the Middle East, but a challenge to all humanity.

"Russia has taken the liberty to meet it. At the request of the legitimate Syrian government, we have come to the rescue of Damascus, whose army is fighting today alone, face-to-face with the world’s evil," the parliamentarian said, adding that Russia's military was ready to devise a plan for joint targeted operations against radical Islamists.

The Federation Council upper house of Russia's parliament on Wednesday granted permission to the Russian president to use Russian armed forces in Syria.

"The Federation Council unanimously supported the president’s request with 162 votes in favour [of granting permission]," Russian Presidential Administration chief Sergey Ivanov said.

Russia would use only its air force in Syria against Islamic State at Syrian President Bashar Assad’s request, he said.

Russian MPs to go on humanitarian mission to Syria

The lawmaker also said members of Russia’s lower house of parliament planned to visit Syria for a humanitarian mission in the near future.

"I’m preparing such a trip in the near future," said Gavrilov, who chairs the State Duma’s committee on property and is a coordinator of a group of deputies for protecting Christian values.

"We are now discussing these issues with Syrian partners, the mechanism of delivering there [humanitarian aid]. This is not easy during the war time, that’s why we do not want to name the date," he added.

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