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Russian air group’s withdrawal from Syria mostly viewed positively in EU

March 16, 17:20 UTC+3 MOSCOW
"Some saw a military rather than just political achievement, while some viewed it through the prism of either cooperation or competition between Russia and the US," Russia Ambassador to the EU says
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© Vadim Grishankin/Russian Defence Ministry Press and Information Office/TASS
© Vadim Grishankin/Russian Defence Ministry Press and Information Office/TASS
© Vadim Grishankin/Russian Defence Ministry Press and Information Office/TASS
© Vadim Grishankin/Russian Defence Ministry Press and Information Office/TASS
© Vadim Grishankin/Russian Defence Ministry Press and Information Office/TASS
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© Vadim Grishankin/Russian Defence Ministry Press and Information Office/TASS
© Vadim Grishankin/Russian Defence Ministry Press and Information Office/TASS
© Vadim Grishankin/Russian Defence Ministry Press and Information Office/TASS
© Vadim Grishankin/Russian Defence Ministry Press and Information Office/TASS
© Vadim Grishankin/Russian Defence Ministry Press and Information Office/TASS

MOSCOW, March 16. /TASS/. The decision to withdraw the main part of Russian Aerospace Force’s air group from Syria has been mostly viewed positively in the European Union, Permanent Representative to the EU Vladimir Chizhov said in Brussels on Wednesday during a video link-up with Moscow.

"Positively on the whole," Chizhov said. "Each has been guided by their motives; each has been trying to find their own explanation for this step."

"Some saw a military rather than just political achievement, while some viewed it through the prism of either cooperation or competition between Russia and the United States," the diplomat went on to say.

"Those assessments that some of our opponents were making - even speaking longingly that Russia would stuck for long in Syria, in the Syrian ‘quagmire’ - have been totally overturned," Chizhov said. "Russia’s Aerospace Force has done its part and is now withdrawing."

"Others see a signal for a political process [in this decision]," he said. "And I am trying to get it to my interlocutors here."

"The political essence of this decision lies in creation of favorable conditions for a process of political settlement [in Syria]," Russia’s envoy to the EU said. "So the moment chosen for this decision is connected to resumption of [intra-Syrian] negotiations in Geneva."

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday ordered starting the pullout of the main Russian air group from Syria as of March 15. He said the tasks set to the Russian military had been coped with "by and large."

Russia joined the operation against terrorists in Syria on September 30, 2015 at the request of Syrian president Bashar Assad. Ceasefire took effect in Syria on February 27, 2016. It had been agreed by Russia and the United States. The ceasefire does not apply to the groups Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra (both outlawed in Russia), and also other groups declared terrorist by the UN Security Council.

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