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Kremlin: Publication of Russian military pilots’ data in Ukrainian media was hostile act

October 15, 2015, 12:47 UTC+3 ASTANA

Vladimir Putin's press secretary said that Russian special services "surely keep an eye" on that situation

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ASTANA, October 15. /TASS/. The Kremlin has described as a "hostile act" the publication in Ukrainian mass media of personal data of Russian pilots flying combat missions in Syria and promised that the necessary measures would be taken to protect Russian military servicemen.

"Honestly, this is the first time I hear about that from you, but our special services surely keep an eye on the affair," presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, when asked about the publication in Ukrainian media and social networks of photographs and other personal data of Russian career military taking part in the special operation in Syria.

"Surely, it won’t be an exaggeration to say it as a hostile act against our country and our military servicemen and, of course, proper counter-measures will be taken to ensure the safety of our men," Peskov said.

Russia’s Investigative Committee last week launched criminal proceedings against Ukrainian parliament member Anton Gerashchenko, part-time adviser to the Interior Minister, who posted a call in social networks for publishing the personal data of Russian military personnel involved in the operation in Syria.

He was charged with committing a crime described in article 2005.2 of the Russian Criminal Code (Public calls for terrorist activities or public justification of terrorism).

"In fact, Gerashchenko supported and spread the idea of his contact in a social network to the effect "the terrorists and their brothers in Russia will be able to take revenge on Russian military in accordance with the Sharia law," Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin told the media.

In his opinion "such an utterance would spell the end of a politician’s career practically in any other state."

"But in Ukraine such calls apparently bolster such personalities’ credibility - not with the people, though, but with the ruling elite. There can be no doubts as to where the career of such an ‘activist’ will end," Markin said.

The charges brought against Gerashchenko envisage a punishment of up to five years in prison. Calls made in through the mass media are punishable with seven-year imprisonment.

Russian air operation in Syria should be assessed by military experts 

The Kremlin believes that the timeframe and success criteria of the Russian Aerospace Force operation in Syria should be determined by the military.

"Ask the military about it," Peskov told reporters, answering a question about the success criteria of the Russian military operation against terrorists in Syria.

The Kremlin official said that Russian actions in Syria are aimed "at supporting the offensive of the Syrian armed forces in the fight against terrorist and extremist groups."

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