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Almost half of foreign Islamic State militants are from CIS countries

"We understand the scale of this threat and we are to do our utmost to minimize it," Russian President Vladimir Putin said

MOSCOW, April 12. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that about 9,000 CIS citizens fight for the Islamic State (outlawed in Russia).

"According to various estimates, there are about 20,000 foreign militants fighting in Syria, including nearly 10,000 of them are from the CIS countries," Putin said in an interview to the Mir 24 television news channel. "Nine thousand at least. A little half of them are from Russia, and five thousand from the CIS countries, mostly the CSTO members. The threat is very big and real. We are aware of it, we understand the scale of this threat and we are to do our utmost to minimize it. We keep working on this."

About prospects for achieving victory over the Islamic State he said that it was still far away.

"To achieve it we must pool efforts, not just within the CSTO, but within a wider international coalition," Putin said. "Otherwise success will be hardly possible."

"It is our strongest wish, if the victory materializes at last, to have it happen in a way that would rule out the return of any militants to our country," Putin said. "This is precisely the task of our contingent in Syria."

"Our military personnel, our group that fights against international terrorists in foreign territory precisely for preventing the return of any of them," he said. "If such things happen once in a while, this merely proves that you made the right choice and are now obliged to do our utmost to minimize such a return."