ST. PETERSBURG, August 9. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin has confirmed reports that the United States had asked Russia to help release its citizen detained in Syria and Moscow helped for humanitarian considerations.
"Indeed, several months ago the American side asked us for assistance in release of an American national who happened to be in the territory of Syria," Putin told a news conference on Tuesday after his talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
"We did it following corresponding efforts," he said.
"It was not a special operation. We simply reached an agreement with the Syrian authorities, received this man and handed him over to the U.S. side, naturally, without any bailouts or ransoms," Putin said. "We were guided only by humanitarian considerations."
Russia "indulges in no exchanges or bailouts," he stressed.
"If we can help people in such a difficult situation as this American citizen was, we are ready to do that for citizens of any state," the Russian leader pledged. "We hope our partners will do the same for our citizens."
Russia’s Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in April that U.S. President Barrack Obama had turned to Russian President Vladimir Putin with a personal request to assist in searching for American citizens who could be staying in the territory of Syria. As it turned out later, one of them - Kevin Dawes - was kept under arrest for illegal penetration into the country [Syria] ’and other offences. In response to Russia’s request, the Syrian authorities released the American for humanitarian reasons. A Russian military transport plane delivered Dawes to Moscow, he was handed over to U.S embassy officials and left Russia soon after that.
According to the Washington Post, Dawes, 33, a photographer by profession, was abducted in 2012, after crossing the Turkish-Syrian border.
The U.S. administration thanked Russia for its assistance in Dawes’ release but refrained from comment on reports that Obama had personally contacted Putin to ask for help.