06:24 GMT23 April 2021
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    Russia has started the reduction of its military group in Syria.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Russia's planned reduction of its military presence in Syria has begun with a Northern Fleet carrier group led by the Admiral Kuznetsov heavy carrier, the chief of the Russian Armed Forces General Staff said Friday.

    "In accordance with the decision of Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Armed Forces Vladimir Putin, the Defense Ministry is beginning to reduce the Armed Forces grouping in Syria," Gen. Valery Gerasimov told reporters.

    Gerasimov said the reduction begins with the Admiral Flota Sovetskogo Soyuza Kuznetsov, the Pyotr Veliky battlecruiser and auxiliary ships.

    He noted that the nationwide ceasefire in Syria took effect at midnight local time on December 30 (22:00 GMT on December 29).

    The Russian Armed Forces' carrier group led by the Admiral Kuznetsov heavy carrier will embark from the Mediterranean to Northern Fleet's base later in the day, Gerasimov said.

    The decision to cut Russia's military presence in the Arab republic was made by Putin at the recommendation of Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu on December 29.

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