MOSCOW, March 16. /TASS/. Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov has dismissed media rumors the operation in Syria cost Russia 38 billion rubles (over $535 million).
"No, this does not agree [with our data]. You had better ask the respected periodical where it had learned about such costs," Peskov told the media.
He avoided answering questions about the technical aspects of the Russian aerospace group’s pullout from Syria.
"That’s a question to be addressed to the military," Peskov said about the pullout’s timetable. He did not specify whether manpower and materiel were being withdrawn by air or by sea.
"You are asking me about military logistics. It is better to turn to the Defense Ministry to ask such questions," Peskov advised the media.
Peskov explained that it was very wrong to call Hmeimim and Tartus military bases.
"The term base implies capital infrastructures. In the meantime, no capital construction is underway at either site," he said. "The distinction is purely terminological, but these facilities cannot be called full-fledged bases now."
"The facilities are in operation. They are still there. They are reliably protected in the air, on land and on the sea," Peskov said.
The official also stressed that decisions to use Russian military outside the country are a presidential prerogative, made on the basis of permission from parliament.
"Decisions to send Russian troop contingents to other countries on the basis of powers received from the Federal Assembly are made by the Russian president. In each particular case it is his [president’s] decision. There can be no other hypothetical speculations on this score," presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said.
He confirmed that there had been no fresh requests from Baghdad for dispatching Russian forces to Syria.
The Defense Ministry’s press and information department said earlier on Wednesday another group of Russian planes had left Syria for Russia earlier in the day.
"The Ilyushin-76-led group consists of Sukhoi-25 fighter-bombers," the Defense Ministry said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday ordered to begin the pullout of the main part of the Russian air group from Syria as of March 15. He said the tasks set to the military had been coped with "by and large."
Defense Minister Nikolai Pankov on Tuesday said that strikes against the terrorists would continue.