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    Russia’s Withdrawal From Syria May Influence EU Thinking on Sanctions

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    Russian Jets Withdraw From Syria (72)
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    Russia’s decision to withdraw its air group from Syria may impact European Union (EU) leaders’ views on whether to renew sanctions against Moscow in June, US Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker told Sputnik.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik), Leandra Bernstein — Beginning on Tuesday, two Russian air groups involved in the nearly seven-month military engagement in Syria left the Hmeimim airbase. The departure followed Putin’s orders on Monday to begin the withdrawal of a large part of Russia’s forces in Syria the following day.

    "I don’t think there is any question that [Russian President Vladimir] Putin is also, as you can imagine, trying to show himself to be a good actor to Europe as they continue to contemplate sanctions relative to Ukraine," Corker said on Tuesday.

    The drawdown of Russian forces in Syria has largely been accepted as a positive development by the international community, according to reports.

    Corker acknowledged that if the pullback is as large as President Putin has reported, "certainly it is a good sign."

    The EU is scheduled to reconsider the economic sanctions regime against Russia in June, six months after deciding to re-impose the measures.

    The EU and its allies introduced several rounds of sanctions against Russia beginning in 2014, having accused Russia of meddling in the Ukrainian conflict.

    Russia has repeatedly refuted the allegations, stressing it is not a party in Ukraine conflict and warning that US and NATO amassing troops and equipment on its borders runs contrary to previous agreements and may disturb regional and global stability.

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    Russian Jets Withdraw From Syria (72)

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