Putin: Russia spent over 33 billion roubles on Syria operation
Date: 2016-03-18 11:22
Russia’s defence ministry has spent 33 billion roubles [4 billion] on its military operation in Syria, President Vladimir Putin has said.
Putin’s remarks - the first lengthy comments he has made about the campaign - came on Thursday at the Kremlin during a ceremony for Russian military personnel returning from serving in Syria.
"The military operation in Syria, of course, required certain spending but the main part was from the defence ministry’s resources – around 33 billion roubles. [This sum] was included in the ministry’s 2015 budget for holding drills and military training. We just redirected these resources to support the group in Syria," the official Russian news agency Tass quoted Putin as saying.
The president’s comments came after a Russian business news agency this week estimated that the campaign had cost around 38 billion roubles [4 million], figures disputed by the Kremlin.
Putin on Thursday said the operation in Syria had helped the Russian military test its hardware, and helped it create new weapons and improve its armed forces.
"The modern Russian weaponry has proved its worth in real combat conditions rather than at training ranges. This is the most rigorous test," he added.
Russia began bombing targets in Syria last September, claiming it was targeting "terrorists".
Putin said on Thursday that the air defence systems will be used against "any targets" which Russia considers as threat.
The White House said on Friday morning that it was too soon to assess the effect of the disengagement, Middle East Eye reported.