Putin Says Russian Military Not Building Long-term in Syria

Mikhail Klimentyev  Presidential press-service  TASS

President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday Russia was not planning to withdraw from Syria for now, adding that the military would stay there for as long as it was in Russia's interest. Vladivostok is about 100 miles from the Russian border with North Korea, a four-hour drive due to having to navigate around the Amur and Posyet Bays. "This is on the understanding that a third world war would lead to the end of civilisation".

Such restrictions "will gradually be dissolved", Putin said. "The understanding that a third world war could be the end of civilization should restrain us from taking extreme steps on the worldwide arena that are highly risky for modern civilization". He had some sharp words for US and allied sanctions on the Russian economy and the steel and aluminum tariffs imposed by the Trump administration.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has characterized new us steel tariffs against its long-term allies as unjustified sanctions.

Putin said both allegations are "complete nonsense and can only be called a joke".

In contrast to previous phone-ins, this year Putin called on ministers and regional leaders to stand by, ready to go live on air to discuss practical issues with callers. London has blamed the nerve agent poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter on Russian Federation but Moscow has denied any involvement. The Russian government responded by mocking May and accusing the British government of fabricating the incident.

Putin was speaking on Thursday during his annual call-in show on state television.

Speaking Thursday about the move, Putin described the tariffs as "sanctions", saying that countries which have imposed restrictions on Russian Federation for the annexation of the Crimean Peninsula are now going to see what they feel like on their own skin.

"If as Britain insists a military chemical agent was used against these people, they would have died within second or minutes, on the spot". Fortunately that did not happen.

The Skripals spent months in a British hospital being treated for their exposure to Novichok.

Putin will get to showcase Russian Federation beginning next week, as the country begins hosting the World Cup.

Putin vaguely warned Ukraine not to try any "provocations" during the World Cup. "I am only at the beginning of this journey so let's not jump ahead", he said, adding: "I have never violated the constitution of my country and I am not going to".

Russian Federation will host the FIFA World Cup beginning on June 14.

The U.S., Iran and Turkey are among other countries with forces inside Syria, where the Assad government is battling a domestic rebellion and the threat from jihadi groups such as Islamic State and al Qaeda.

When talking about the Korean peninsula, Putin reiterated Russia's stance on its denuclearisation by saying: "We look forward to positive results from the Trump-Kim Singapore summit".

And what about plans to pull the Russian military out of Syria?

Indeed, Putiin claimed improving Russians' lives was his priority after a landslide re-election last March that was marred by accusations of vote tampering but secured Putin's rule through 2024.

"But for the moment, we need them there, they are carrying out important tasks, including providing security for Russian Federation in the region, and helping our interests in the economic sphere".

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