Turkey attacked Russian jet for the US’ sakeAmong the first questions, the president was asked about future Russian-Turkish relations that were seriously strained after the incident with Russian bomber Su-24 shot down at Syrian border. Putin called that "a hostile act" and assumed it might be an attempt to curry favor with the US.
If anyone amid Turkish leaders decided to lick Americans in a certain place, I doubt whether they did the right thing ... At the interstate level, I can’t see any prospects for mending fences with the Turkish leaders.
ISIS is an economic projectAgainst this background, Putin called the Islamic State terrorist organization banned in Russia as a "secondary factor". According to the president, the islamist radicals within the group are just a safeguarding tool for oil smuggling channels.
These things have been happening for many years. It is business contraband on a huge industrial scale. This illegal export had to be protected, they needed a military force. It is ideal to use Islamic factor, to attract ‘cannon fodder’ soldiers there under a guise of Islam which are in fact just playing a role associated with economic interests.
Militants of the Islamic State
Russia and the US go along the same roadAlthough the Russian leader refrained from mentioning of exact dates for termination of the Syrian campaign, he emphasized the need to complete the operation as soon as possible. The overseas partners understand the issue of fighting the Middle East terrorism in the similar way, said the president.
Yes, we do have a plan. Curiously enough, in key aspects it is in line with the American one. Co-working on the constitution, creating instruments of control of the future elections and acceptance of their results. That’s pretty difficult, there are some reciprocal claims.
Farer is betterEstablishment of a full-fledged military base in Syria is not required to accomplish combat tasks in the region, Putin said. As for the president, operation range of the Caliber and Kh-101 ship-based missiles is well enough to destroy the opponent’s facilities without neighboring them side by side.
A military base is a quite serious infrastructure needing much investment. We have our air component there, as well as temporary modules for feeding and having rest. We had assembled that in two days, and there we are, on the airfields.
War instead of drillsDespite considerable cost of the used ammunitions, the Russia’s air operation in Syria won’t have a negative impact on the national budget, assured Putin. The defense ministry reoriented the money allocated for peacetime drills and exercises.
This does not have any serious burden on the budget. We just redirected part of funds planned for military drills to our air operations in Syria.
The Donbass revelationOne of the most surprising statements made by Putin at the press-conference was admission of involvement of Russian military experts in southeast Ukraine.
We never said there were no people there who were carrying out certain tasks, including in the military sphere. It doesn’t mean that Russian regular troops are there. Feel the difference.
Freedom to political prisonersAs continuation of the Ukrainian topic, Putin talked about prisoners of the Donbass conflict, since some of them in fact has become political prisoners. The president offered to open a dialog about their release on both sides of the border.
It is no secret that Ukrainian government considers those who was captured in Donbass as subject to exchange, and those who are in jail in Ukraine as not exchangeable criminal offenders. We believe that prisoners should be exchanged in the whole, but not selectively.Curiously, on the day of the Putin’s press-conference the Moscow City Court released from the jail Vladimir Podrezov, a figurant of the "highrise case" who had been earlier convicted for repainting of the star on the top of the Stalinist skyscraper in Moscow into colors of Ukrainian flag. The court mitigated his sentence down to "supervised release" that does not provide isolation from society.
Ukrainian airwoman Nadezhda Savchenko
Retired military men may build a silicon valleySpeaking about Sevastopol’s development prospects, the president proposed to forgo the focusing on militarization of the city. Putin says it must be developed in different areas at once.
There are different approaches. Some people have an idea to develop a sort of a silicon valley, just like you said. What’s wrong with that? One may also develop high-tech industries there, including former servicemen of the Russian Navy.
Veterans will receive their regalia backThe three-hour long press-conference of Vladimir Putin, the Russian leader and the Supreme Commander of Armed Forces, ended with a modest promise to return naval veterans the right to wear personal dirks. According to current rules, naval officers are to return them to military arsenals upon retirement. Officers had to apply to court in order to return the deserved regalia back.
Dirks must be returned to officers. Thanks to everyone. We’ll finish at that point.
According to the president’s official website, for Vladimir Putin this was the eleventh year-summarizing press-conference.