The Russian armed forces have not employed all their capability in Syria and may use "more military means" there if necessary, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Saturday, hours after signing up to a UN roadmap to peace in the war-torn country.
"We see how efficiently our pilots and intelligence agents coordinate their efforts with various kinds of forces – the army, navy and aviation, how they use the most modern weapons," Russian news agencies quoted Putin as saying.
"I want to stress that these are by far not all of our capabilities," he said. "We have more military means. And we will use them – if need be."
Russia launched a bombing campaign in Syria on September 30 at the request of the country’s beleaguered president, Bashar al-Assad, who has been battling a variety of rebel groups since 2011.
Moscow says it is targeting the Islamic State (IS) group and other jihadists outfits mixed in among the rebel factions, but the US and its allies have accused Russian forces of targeting mostly Western-backed moderate rebels fighting Assad.
Putin’s comments came a day after the UN Security Council unanimously supported a plan to end the Syrian civil war by summoning the regime and the rebels to the negotiating table.
Crucially, the resolution made no mention of the most contentious issue – the future role of Syria’s President Assad.
Moscow has staunchly supported Assad's regime while the West has long insisted the Syrian leader must step down to facilitate a political solution to a crisis that has killed more than 250,000 people and forced millions from their home.
More recently, some Western leaders have appeared to relent on the question of Assad’s immediate departure, suggesting it was no longer a precondition for the formation of a transitional government.
On Saturday, Putin said Russia's unwavering position on the crisis in Syria, where it has steadfastly resisted calls for Assad's ouster, had facilitated its negotiations with both Washington and Damascus on the issue.
"We find it easy to work with both Assad and the American side," Putin said in the trailer of an upcoming television documentary released Saturday. "We don't suck up to anybody, nor do we change our position."
Putin did not elaborate on the specifics of Russia's cooperation with the US and Syria in the trailer, which contained a segment of an interview filmed last week following the Russian leader's annual press conference.
The full documentary, entitled "World Order", will be aired Sunday night on Russian state television.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP, REUTERS)
Date created : 2015-12-19