Military participation in Middle East ‘not on agenda’: Russian President Vladimir Putin

By @snksounak on
Putin
Russia's President Vladimir Putin speaks at a news conference after the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Ufa, Russia, July 10, 2015. Reuters/Sergei Karpukhin

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said it is too early to say if his country will take part in military operations against ISIS militants.

"We consider various possibilities, but now what you have mentioned [participation in military operations] is not yet on our agenda," Russian news agency TASS quoted Putin as saying at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok. "Saying that we are ready to do it today is premature, but we are providing Syria with rather serious support and equipment and training forces with armament."

The Russian president also said he wais trying to form an international anti-terrorism coalition. Putin said his country wanted to create an an international coalition on the fight against terrorism and extremism. He added he had consulted with his “American partners.”

Putin said he had a phone conversation with U.S. President Barack Obama about the issue, and has also discussed the same with other countries including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and Turkey. According to him, first results show an international coalition against terrorist forces is possible.

Putin’s announcement goes against recent media reports claiming Russia’s participation in military operations in Syria. The Daily Beast reported Moscow might be looking at sending a small number of troops to the Middle East.

Russian pilots have allegedly started preparing for airstrikes on both ISIS and anti-Assad rebels. Some reports claim necessary equipment has been moved to perform the operation, while others suggest the Pentagon is reluctant to discuss Russia’s new role in Syria.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, however, dismissed the claims. He said on Wednesday people should not believe such media reports.

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