MOSCOW, February 20. /TASS/. Actions of the Russian military in Syria deserve the highest assessment as they are meant to defend Russia’s national interests and help participants in anti-terror efforts to protect civilians, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Saturday.
"The combat skills of our military are being improved now in the military operation in Syria. Fighting in this Middle East country, our servicemen and officers are defending Russia’s interests, extinguishing terrorists who call our motherland their enemy and who don’t hide their expansion plans, including into the territory of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS)," the president said at a reception in the Kremlin dedicated to the Fatherland Defender’s Day marked in Russia on February 23.
"The combat mission of Russian pilots, seamen and servicemen of support units deserves the highest praise," Putin, who is Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Armed Forces, said. "In difficult conditions, they are helping the Syrian government army, other participants in anti-terror efforts to defeat terrorists and save civilians from violence, barbarianism and outrage."
"We have always tried to settle all disputable problems exclusively by political and diplomatic means. We have always done our best to stabilize situation in different countries, to help settle acute conflict," the Russian leader underscored. "Let us do it now as well."
Russia’s aerospace forces launched pinpoint strikes against the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra targets in Syria on September 30 after the Federation Council upper parliament house unanimously approved President Vladimir Putin’s request for the use of the armed forces against terrorists in Syria. Air strikes are delivered at military hardware, communications centers, transport vehicles, munitions depots and other terrorist infrastructure facilities. The military operation is conducted at the request of Syrian President Bashar Assad. Russia has repeatedly said it does not plan to take part in any ground operations in Syria.