MOSCOW, September 7. /TASS/. Moscow has no information on Russia’s alleged increase of military presence in the conflict-hit Syria, Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, said on Monday.
Asked at a news conference whether Russia has increased its military presence in Syria, Peskov said "I have no such information at my disposal."
The presidential spokesman, however, added that Russia continues maintaining contact with the Syrian side.
"We maintain working contacts, cooperate with the Syrian authorities, keep a dialogue," Peskov said.
Peskov said that President Putin already spoke last week on the issue of Russia’s alleged military presence in Syria adding that "I have nothing to add to what the president had already said."
Speaking at a news conference last week in Russia’s Vladivostok on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum, Putin said it was early to speak about Russia’s possible participation in military operations against the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group.
"Speaking that we are ready to do it today is premature, but we are providing Syria with a rather serious support and equipment and training forces with armament," Putin told journalists on Friday.
Russian Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson Maria Zakharova told TASS earlier in the day that Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry discussed the issue of Russia’s military assistance in a telephone conversation on September 5.
"In the course of the telephone conversation Kerry asked Lavrov for details about Russian assistance to the Syrian government in the struggle with terrorists. The Russian Foreign Minister confirmed that such assistance had been provided on all occasions and continued to be provided at the moment and that Russia had never made a secret of the supplies of military hardware to the Syrian authorities for struggle against terrorists," Zakharova said.
"Lavrov drew the US Secretary of State’s attention to a remark by Russian President Vladimir Putin made in Vladivostok to the effect that discussing Russia’s involvement in military operations in Syria was premature for the time being," she added.