10:29 GMT14 June 2021
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    The Russian Defense Ministry categorically denied on Thursday claims that Moscow is allegedly spending exorbitant sums of money to conduct military operations in Syria.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The cost of the Russian anti-terrorist campaign in the Syria does not exceed the planned spending of the Russian Defense Ministry for the regular combat training missions, ministry's spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said in a statement.

    "Once again we have to disappoint all former and future poorly-qualified accountants and analysts of military expenditures. The costs of conducting the operation of the Russian Aerospace Forces in the Syrian Arab Republic does not exceed the planned spending of the Russian Defense Ministry for the regular combat training missions," Konashenkov said.

    Russia's Yabloko party reported earlier in the day that according to its calculations Russia may have spent up to 140 billion rubles (some $2.4 billion) on its military operations in Syria since the start of the campaign in September 2015.

    Earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the cost of Russia’s counterterrorist campaign in Syria estimated at nearly $500 million is necessary and justified.

    "Of course the military operation in Syria demanded certain costs. However, most of them – these are Defense Ministry resources of about 33 billion rubles – had already been laid in the ministry’s 2015 budget to conduct exercises and combat training," Putin said in March 2016.

    Russia began its counterterrorist military campaign in Syria on September 30, 2015, at the request of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

    On December 17, 2015, Putin stated that the aerial campaign in Syria has not placed a significant strain on the Russian government budget, adding that a portion of military training expenditures have been redirected for the Syrian campaign.


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