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No ground forces take part in Russia's military operation in Syria — Kremlin

November 17, 2015, 13:26 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Vladimir Putin's spokesman refrained from answering whether Russia would hold a special operation abroad to expose those who had been behind the terrorist attack on a Russian passenger plane in Egypt
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Russia's  combat helicopters at Hmeymim airfield in Syria

Russia's combat helicopters at Hmeymim airfield in Syria

© Alexander Yelistratov/TASS

MOSCOW, November 17. /TASS/. Taking part in the military operation in Syria are only Russian planes, but no ground forces, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said.

Asked about further operations by Russian military in Syria he said: "President Putin has said more than once that Russia will confine itself to the air component. A ground operation is ruled out."

"I would like to recall that Russia’s air group supports the Syrian Armed Forces in their offensive," Peskov said.

He avoided answering the question if Putin had notified the G20 leaders about Russia’s plans for stepping up air strikes against terrorist positions in Syria and earned their support.

"I can't answer your question," he said.

The topic of struggle against terrorism was one of the central ones at the G20 summit in Antalya on November 15-16. Putin attended the forum and held a series of bilateral contacts with foreign leaders on the sidelines of the event.

The spokesman said Russia has been taking and will take further anti-terror efforts in strict compliance with international law.

"Russia has been taking all of its anti-terror efforts in strict compliance with the norms and principles of international law. We will keep to this principle in our further efforts - this is the cornerstone principle," Peskov told journalists.

He said President Vladimir Putin, who spoke at a meeting with law enforcers late on Monday about inevitability of punishment for those responsible for the terrorist attack on the Russian passenger jet that had crashed in Egypt in late October, "mentioned Article 51 of the United Nations Charter in this very context."

He refrained from answering the question whether Russia would hold a special operation abroad to expose those who had been behind the terrorist attack on a Russian passenger plane in Egypt. "I said all I had to say," the Kremlin spokesman underscored.

"We will act in strict compliance with Article 51 of the United Nations Charter that guarantees the right to self-defense to all states," Putin said at the meeting.

An A321 passenger jet of Russia’s Kogalymavia air carrier (flight 9268) bound to St. Petersburg crashed on October 31 some 30 minutes after the takeoff from Egypt’s Sharm el-Sheikh. It fell down 100 kilometers south of the administrative center of North Sinai Governorate, the city of Al-Arish. The plane was carrying 217 passengers and seven crew members. There were four Ukrainian and one Belarusian nationals among the passengers. None survived.

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