13:32 GMT +3 hours28 July 2016
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Vladimir Putin delivers annual Presidential Address to Federal Assembly

President Putin Awards Russian Soldiers for Special Operations in Syria

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Russian President Vladimir Putin awarded Russian military and defense personnel who had taken part in the Russian air campaign in Syria.

Russian President Putin praised the effectiveness of the work of the Russian air group in Syria, which has been partly pulled out from the country. He also said that the operation in Syria has shown the increased power of the Russian military.

The Russian president said that the Russian Defense Ministry had spent 33 billion rubles (more than $464 million) on the military campaign in the Syrian Arab Republic.

Putin said that expenses on Russia's anti-terror campaign "were fully justified and necessary."

The Russian operation in Syria was a more effective training for the country's military than drills, he added.

The commander-in-chief added that the funds have been redirected to supply the assets in Syria, asserting that "no one has yet invented a more effective way of training and honing skills than actual combat operations."

He noted that "only in the battlefield could many of what was used to genuinely test, identify existing problems and fix them."

Putin said that the Russian air campaign in Syria has created conditions for the peace process in the war-torn country.

"The most important thing is that we have created conditions for the peace talks, we have managed to establish positive cooperation with the United States, as well as a number of other countries, with those opposition forces in Syria which really want to stop the war and find an only possible political solution to the conflict."

Russia will continue to aid Syria, including military and intelligence support. The Russian leader reiterated Russia’s readiness to support Damascus in the fight against terrorist groups operating in Syria, which are outlawed by the UN Security Council.

"Of course, we will continue to support the Syrian legitimate government. It will be financial aid, arms supplies, military training… It will be intelligence support, aid in the planning of operations, as well as direct support — the use of the Russian Aerospace Forces."

Putin commented on the operation carried out by the Syrian army aimed at the liberation of Palmyra.

"I hope that this pearl of the civilization will be returned to the Syrian people."

The Russian Aerospace Forces have carried out over 9,000 sorties during the anti-terror operation in Syria. The number of sorties conducted by Russian warplanes has decreased three times after the ceasefire had been reached, he said.

According to Putin, Russia may boost the air group in Syria "in literally a few hours."

"If needed, Russia can boost its air group in the region in literally a few hours to a size corresponding with the situation and use the whole arsenal of our opportunities. We would not like to do that as military escalation is not our choice, that's why we  rely on the common sense of all parties, on the commitment of the [Damascus] authorities and the opposition to the peace process."

Russia will use its air defense systems in Syria to target anyone threatening its military personnel, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday.

"We are acting according to fundamental international norms, no one has the right to violate Syria's sovereign airspace. An effective mechanism for preventing air incidents has been established with the American side, but all partners have been notified and are aware that our air defense systems will be deployed against any targets that we will consider to be a threat for Russian service personnel. I stress that these will be any targets."

The balance of power in Syria would be maintained after the pullout of the Russian forces, Putin said. The Russian leader added that Damascus had gained the strategic initiative and continues to defend its land.

He added that Russia has strengthened Syrian government forces, which are now capable of successfully fighting against terrorism.

"We have strengthened its [Syria’s] Armed Forces. Today, they are able not only to deter terrorists, but to conduct a successful offensive against them," Putin said at a ceremony awarding the forces involved in Russia's counterterrorist campaign in Syria.

Commenting on the ceasefire regime in Syria, Putin said that those who violate it, would be "automatically" excluded from the truce deal. "If we record ceasefire violations from any group, it will be automatically excluded from the list given by the United States with all that it entails."

The Russian president said that he hoped that all interested parties would consider Russia's partial withdrawal from Syria as "a positive signal."

Putin also noted the stance of the Syrian President Bashar Assad, saying that "we see his restraint, sincere desire of peace and willingness to compromise." The Russian leader added that Damascus would not fight against armed Syrian opposition groups, as agreed under the US-Russia ceasefire plan, which came into effect on February 27.

Russia has shown leadership and responsibility in its counterterrorist mission in Syria, the Russian president noted.

He noted that the servicemen’s "hard work radically changed the situation, we did not allow the terrorist tumor to grow" and expressed gratitude to those involved in the campaign for their "devotion to their fatherland."

"Russia is proud of you. It is proud of its soldiers and officers who defend the interests of the country with high professionalism and courage," the commander-in-chief added.

The modern Russian weapons has passed the most severe combat tests in Syria, Putin said.

"Today, I would like to express gratitude to the representatives of Russia's defense industry — to workers, engineers, designers. The modern Russian weapons have passed the test, and not on the firing range, but in the real world, in the fight. This is the most severe test. This experience will allow us to make the necessary adjustments to improve the efficiency and reliability of the technology, to create a new generation of weapons, improve the armed forces to increase their combat capabilities," Putin said during the award ceremony in Moscow.

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Russian Jets Withdraw From Syria (71)
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  • Terra
    Job well done Mister Putin and Russia, hats off to you ^^

    And good to read "Russia to Continue Military and Intelligence Support to Syria"
  • wolfmessing
    +++ Vladimir Putin and the Proud Defenders of Human Kind the Honorable and true Human Beings " The Russian People"..........No Words can express the immense Gratitude of Billions of People around the world for living in the same time as this Great Leader that stood up against idiotic and chaotic western nato/eu/american/british and their vassals decisions, that created a world unrecognizable and in total contrast as it should be, we the people of the world that strive for love and peace " Honour and Pray for the Russian Supreme Leader President and for the Russian People " +++
  • kasivasantha
    The world has seen a real leader.Long live the Russian president Mr.Putin.
  • FeEisi
    "no one has yet invented a more effective way of training and honing skills than actual combat operations."

    The problem is that they were training against a third world army, not a more advanced enemy. The US has decades of experience fighting less advanced enemies.
  • peaceactivist2
    Russia learned a great lesson ! Fly high, so high that anti aircraft gun won't reach. And precision bombs and GPS are great in such runs. But that only work with terrorist groups with limited tools and on black pajamas only. Russia has yet to develop better tactic if dealing with similar oppornant.
  • ivanwa88
    What about the famed unstoppable Wehrmacht in the Great Patriotic War? that was destroyed by Russians! New figures after accurate research and elimination of false propaganda put the number of Axis forces in German uniforms at 11 million including 2 million Turks? who invaded Russia and were crushed and destroyed by Russians.

    Russia is now prepared unlike the period of the Axis of evil invasion.
  • ivanwa88
    FeEisi its the testing of weapons and strategies irrespective of the advanced state of the enemy.

    After all advanced armies dont go into battle with a advanced enemy, they talk Turkey? no pun intended.

    ISIS/ISIL/IS/DAESH and fellow head choppers only expected to fight seriously depleted Syrian forces who could hardly get a plane in the air or a fully operational tank!!?

    When Russia entered the fray they repaired the workshops and brought in badly needed parts to get them underway.

    The rest is Glorious thank you Russia for giving us hope of a better world.
  • copius
    I stress that these will be any targets. ...ANY....ANY
    All pilots, read that again and again before take off. You have been warned.
  • teddy jin reply tokasivasantha(Show commentHide comment)
    kasivasantha,

    very true -- and i add my voice to yours.

    and not only that --

    RUSSIA -- with the leadership of Putin and his co-leaders who demonstrate to the world how the russian nation produces the FINEST kinds of leaders --

    also has SHINED THROUGH all the LIES - of decades and even centuries led by the USA and the west and their collaborating vassals --

    shine as the TRUE preserver of all that is decent, noble, dignified and HUMANE and truly moral in human civilization.

    it is RUSSIA that is the ''shining city" for the whole world to look to for inspiration and courage against the forces of EVIL represented by the leaderships and gangsters of the USA and the western and other deceitful vassals like themselves.

    it IS russia that holds the HOPE of the world and the human civilization if we are all to survive as a species and civilization WORTHY of the gift of being in existence !

    THANK YOU to RUSSIA , her people, and for giving US -- the rest of the world your fine leaders such as Vladimir Putin, Sergei Lavrov and so many others whose names forever will be remembered by people around the world -- as those that we all should be grateful to.
  • earlw35
    Heroes all of them, brave heroes to the Motherland in fight against terror, no other nation can come close.
  • teddy jin reply toFeEisi(Show commentHide comment)
    FeEisi,
    and you think that THAT ''thrid world army" OF terrorists -- who HAD army training all their lives really )they are NOT neophytes u know -- and calling them '\'third world" because they come from poorer nations does NOT make them any LESS FIERCE --

    THAT arm the US TROOPS could EASILY beat?

    heck -- VETERANS and specialiosts -- highly paid mercenaries of the USA -- WITH All their training, experience and muscles and gear --

    just got KICKED in their asses -- -- DECIMATED really --

    by ''third world army" houthis in yemen! just a wee ago --

    ALL OVER 30 of them ''special op" supposedly SO GOOD that these guys get paid in the THOUSANDS per day.

    u really think the russian TROOPS if it comes down to it are going to run tail or be outclassed by the ''SUPERB americans?"

    who FIGHT BEHIND pawns BEFORE showing themselves when the REAL battles and the thousands dead from all sides are already mostly OVER?

    WHAT the USA really does is MOP UP operations after all others already did the heavy lifting.

    and that's what the USA calls '''great, best soldiers in history".

    they also fought and bombed -- with more firepower than ALL of world war two -- -- VIETNAM and all the USA got after tens and tens and tens OF thousands of highly ''trained- experienced and equipped" soldiers for A DECADE --

    WAS get kicked in the butt in UTTER humiliation by some ''THIRD WORLD" ARMY of the vietnamese!

    heck - USA can't even GET OUT of afghanistan SAFELY unless pakistan , or iran or russia gave the USA ''SAFE PASSAGE|" TO move their personnel just out of good faith...
  • JustDandy
    "in Putin we trust" got to love it.
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